Wednesday, October 5, 2011
HOW MUCH IS MY BALTIMORE PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH? Does my doctor testify at my trial?
In the typical Baltimore personal injury case filed in District court, the plaintiff's medical records are admitted in evidence, and reviewed by the Court. In almost all cases, the treating or evaluating doctor is not called as a witness. In more serious Baltimore personal injury cases filed in Circuit court, doctors more frequently testify at trial, or by the use of a video taped deposition played at trial. The seasoned Baltimore personal injury lawyer can offer many reasons, both pro and con, for having a doctor testify. The most important, however, is often cost. Minimally, doctor's testimony, whether live or via video deposition, will cost $750-$1000. Some doctors will charge in excess of $5,000 to testify. The costs of the personal injury case, including expert witness fees, are paid by the client [although your personal injury lawyer may advance those costs], and obviously have a direct bearing on the amount of the ultimate recovery. Are there cases, though, where a doctor must testify? The plaintiff always has the burden of proof. Where the injury is apparent, or develops shortly after a negligent act, no expert [i.e. doctor's] testimony is needed to show causation. It is within the ken of the average juror. However, in a Baltimore personal injury casewhere the cause of the injury, and its relation to a negligent act involves detailed medical issues, outside of common understanding, then a doctor's testimony will be required. Strong v. Prince George's Co., 549 A.2d 1142.