Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Car Accident Litigation

Summary: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness testimony allowed despite the plaintiff’s contention that an expert witness should examine the damages at issue.

Facts:  This case (Mathis v. Garrison Property And Casualty Insurance Company et al – United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana – June 28th, 2019) involves an automobile accident.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendant insurance company should be liable for damages in the premises and for pain and suffering.  The defendant hired Dr. DeFrancesch (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Expert Witness) to provide expert witness testimony.  The plaintiff filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  The plaintiff argues that Dr. DeFrancesch provides an opinion outside of his own specialty and that he is not qualified to offer an opinion in this case.  In addition, the plaintiff argues that Dr. DeFrancesch’s opinion is unreliable because he never examined the plaintiff.  Last, the plaintiff argues that Dr. DeFrancesch’s expert testimony would not assist the trier of fact in this case.

The court notes that Dr. DeFrancesch is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine, and Spinal Court Injury.  In addition, the court states that he is qualified to treat patients with “physical and/or cognitive impairments and disabilities that result from musculoskeletal conditions, neurological conditions, or other medical conditions.”

The court opines that Dr. DeFrancesch is qualified to opine as an expert witness in this case.

The court also notes that an expert witness does not need to personally examine the plaintiff in rendering an opinion.  The court opined that these types of arguments go to the weight of the opinion and not the admissibility and that it should be left to the jury’s consideration.

Thus, the fact that Dr. DeFrancesch did not personally examine the patient does not mean that he should be excluded as an expert witness.

The plaintiff also alleges that Dr. DeFrancesch’s report is directed to the validity of the treatment rendered by the plaintiff’s treating physician, and suggests that certain procedures were not necessary.

The court opines that this argument related to another motion in limine about the testimony concerning the nature of the plaintiff’s treatment.  The court notes that “to the extent there is a fact issue regarding whether Dr. Zavatsky’s treatment addressed an injury sustained by plaintiff in the sued upon accident, it is potentially relevant.”

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Dr. DeFrancesch is denied.