Spine Surgery Expert Witness Allowed in Automobile Collision Insurance Case

Summary: Spine Surgery Expert Witness allowed even though the plaintiff argued that the expert witness did not have the knowledge or education to testify on velocity of the collision.

Facts: This case (Miller v. Secura Supreme Insurance Company – United States District Court – District of Colorado – Jul 6th, 2023) involves an insurance claim for uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits. The defendant paid out $22,436.71 and stated to the plaintiff that they disputed the cause and the extent of the injuries claimed because he was also in an accident in 2017. The defendant requested that the plaintiff go to an independent evaluation by B. Andrew Castro, M.D.  After Dr. Castro submitted his report, the defendant continued to deny additional monies to the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed suit. As part of the case, the defendant hired Dr. Castro as a Spine Surgery Expert Witness. The plaintiff then filed suit to exclude Dr. Castro’s expert witness testimony.

Discussion: Generally, the plaintiff has issue with Dr. Castro’s statements regarding velocity.

Miller asserts that Dr. Castro’s expert witness testimony about the velocity of the vehicle that his car should be excluded because Dr. Castro does not have the knowledge, experience, or education to opine on that issue. The court, however, disagrees with that argument, opining that Dr. Castro’s statement which described the accident as a “low0velocity motor vehicle accident” are within his area of expertise. The court continues by stating that even though Dr. Castro is not a vehicle-accident reconstruction expert does not mean that he can’t use the data underlying the accident to help him form an opinion about velocity. The court then states than any discussion on Dr. Castro’s qualifications can be brought up during cross-examination.

Whether Dr. Castro’s expert witness opinion is based on sufficient facts or data, the court states that it is. The court says that Dr. Castro’s opinions are based on a review of various documents related to the accident as well as an interview with the plaintiff. As before, the judge notes that any discussion on this issue can be brought up in cross examination.

Last, the plaintiff argues that Dr. Castro’s opinions should be excluded because they are not based on reliable principles or methods. The court disagrees again, stating that Dr. Castro’s methods of reviewing the records of the accident are reliable methods. As before, the  court states that any discussion this issue should be brought up in cross-examination.

Conclusion: The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of B. Andrew Castro, M.D. is denied.