Court Discusses Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

In any Maryland medical malpractice case, it is critical for the plaintiff to retain a knowledgeable expert to explain the standard of care that the defendant was expected to uphold and the manner in which the defendant breached the standard. If a party fails to obtain competent expert testimony, it can gravely impact their case. The standards for admitting expert testimony were recently discussed in a Maryland orthopedic malpractice case in which the court denied the defendant’s motion seeking to exclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying. The jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. If you suffered harm due to the acts of a careless doctor, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney to determine what claims you might be able to pursue.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a right hip total arthroplasty, which was performed by the defendant. The procedure involved the installation of a prosthetic femoral head. The defendant believed he installed the prosthetic correctly, but did not conduct any ex-rays during or after the surgery. The plaintiff subsequently developed swelling and bleeding at the surgical site. X-ray studies then revealed that the stem of the prosthetic perforated the plaintiff’s bone and entered the muscles of his thigh.

Allegedly, the plaintiff then underwent a second procedure to correctly place the prosthetic femoral head. He ultimately filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. The plaintiff retained an expert, but prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to preclude the plaintiff’s expert due to the fact that his opinion lacked a sufficient factual basis. The court denied the motion, and following a trial, the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant then appealed.

Admissibility of Expert Testimony Under Maryland Law

Under Maryland law, expert testimony will be admitted if it helps the trier of fact to understand the parties’ evidence or to determine a fact that is disputed. In assessing whether expert testimony should be admitted, the court must determine whether the proposed witness possesses sufficient skills, experience, or training to qualify as an expert, and the appropriateness of the expert’s testimony on the particular subject. The court must also weigh whether there is an adequate factual basis to support the expert’s opinion.

In other words, the facts that the expert relied on to formulate an opinion must allow for relatively accurate conclusions, rather than guesses or mere speculation. The factual basis may come from a number of different sources, including the expert’s first-hand knowledge, facts obtained through witness testimony, and facts garnered via hypothetical questions. In the subject case, the appellate court explained that the plaintiff’s expert relied, in part, on his own training and extensive experience in formulating his opinion. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet With an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you sustained injuries due to the incompetence of a physician, you may be owed damages and should speak to an attorney. The experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group have the resources and skill set needed to help injured patients seek just results. If you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. We can be reached at (410) 889-1850 or through the form online to set up a conference.

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