Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In New Jersey there is a specific rule that outlines when a plaintiff needs to hire an expert for a case. Often client ask me why would we spend money on this expert or that expert. The very simple answer is you need an expert to convey or communicate to a jury a question of fact which is beyond a “common persons’ understanding”. If you do not have an expert to communicate that fact you are at risk of having your case dismissed by the judge and or the jury not being able to understand a key part of your case. If the jury cannot understand the key component of the case you are likely to lose.
Expert Testimony and Person Injury Cases in New Jersey
Most often, in all cases involving personal injury, the expert communicates the nature and extent of the bodily injury to the jury. This is often addressed by the treating doctors. They provide reports regarding the nature and extent of physical injury and its relationship between the injury and the slip and fall or car crash.
In this case the court dismissed the case because the plaintiff’s attorney did not hire an expert to provide an expert opinion outlining the landlord/business owner’s duty to business invitees such as this plaintiff, the landlord’s breach of the duty and causal relationship between the breach of the duty and plaintiff’s injuries. For this case that means the expert was not hired to communicate how the excess number of persons in the waiting room caused the plaintiff to trip and breaking his leg. The safety protocols and or code violations related to the number of people in a specific area in a public space was found by the court to be an issue/fact beyond the jury’s common understanding. As a result it needed to be communicated by an expert, someone this attorney did not hire. Without the expert opinion there was no way the jury could grasp this sophisticated argument for causation between the alleged negligence and the ultimate injury the plaintiff suffered.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.