If you are claiming damages based on the fact that your injury will be permanent, your Orange County catastrophic injury attorney will arrange for a medical expert to testify at your trial. The average layperson has little knowledge about the future effects of an injury, so courts usually feel that only medical experts can say with any certainty whether the effects of your catastrophic injury are likely to continue.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, especially when the injury involves a loss of a part of the body. Expert testimony would not be needed to say that a hand cut off at the wrist or a missing eye is a permanent injury.
One court decision that discusses whether or not expert testimony is needed to establish an injury’s permanence is Shawnee-Tecumseh Traction Co. v. Griggs, which says in part, “If the injury is objective, and it is plainly apparent from the very nature of the injury that the injured person must of necessity undergo pain and suffering in the future, then most certainly the plaintiff would not be required to prove a fact so plainly evident… Where the injury is subjective, and of such a nature that laymen cannot, with reasonable certainty, know whether or not there will be future pain and suffering, there must be offered ecidency by expert witnesses, learned in human anatomy.”
Though most courts agree with this general principle, there is some difference between courts in terms of what injuries they consider to be permanent using the “plainly apparent” standard. Among the injuries they have disagreed over are a sprained ankle, a weak arm, nervousness, and pain from a fractured shoulder.
The best way to find out if expert testimony will be needed in your case is to consult with an experienced Orange County catastrophic injury attorney who will be up-to-date on the latest case law. To schedule a free consultation with Samer Habbas, please call (888) 848-5084.