Can I Lose My Personal Injury Case Because My Expert is Not Available?

Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently decided a case involving a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The plaintiff alleged the defendant’s negligence caused the accident and plaintiff’s injuries. In New Jersey, law suits are limited in motor vehicle accidents for recovery of non-economic damages for permanent injuries only.  In order to prove permanent injury, a licensed physician must supply a certification claiming the patient suffered a permanent injury as a result of the accident.

In this case, the plaintiff claimed to hire an expert physician that would provide the necessary certification.  The plaintiff filed a motion to reopen and extend discovery after the discovery period ended in order to retrieve the certification.  However, the defendant filed a response against reopening and extending discovery claiming that the doctor the plaintiff intended to use had a suspended license due to insurance fraud.  The defendant further claimed that the doctor had been suspended for three years and during that time plaintiff did not act with diligence in finding a new doctor.

The court ruled with the defendant, claiming that the plaintiff did not exhibit the extraordinary circumstances that would warrant an extension for discovery because the plaintiff did not act with diligence in trying to reach out to the suspended doctor or to find a new one.   Thus, the court did not reopen and extend discovery.

Because the discovery period was closed, the plaintiff could not obtain the proper permanent injury certification, and the case was dismissed in summary judgment.

When you hire an attorney for a personal injury case, be sure the attorney has connections with the proper treating physicians to get yourself better and to provide the proper certifications so your case is not dismissed!

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