The law holds people and businesses responsible for injuries caused by their negligent conduct. In a July 19, 2017 case, the Court of Special Appeals considered a Maryland injury claim brought on appeal by a plaintiff against a bus transportation business. The plaintiff filed the appeal after a jury found in favor of the defendant.
The victim in the case was a double amputee who required the use of a wheelchair for mobility. The victim had hired the defendant’s bus transportation company to transport him to his home. As the driver attempted to load the victim into the transport bus, his wheelchair rolled backwards and fell off the bus’ lift. The fall sent the victim crashing to the ground and broke his neck. The victim spent the next few months in the hospital before passing away from his injuries. The victim’s estate filed suit against the driver and the bus transportation company, alleging negligence. After a trial, the jury found that the victim’s injuries were not results of the driver’s negligence.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred by striking the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert. In Maryland, before allowing expert testimony, a trial court must make the following determinations: (1) whether the witness is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, (2) whether the expert testimony is appropriate on the particular subject, and (3) whether a sufficient factual basis exists to support the expert testimony. With respect to the third element, an expert’s opinion testimony must be based on an adequate factual basis so that it does not amount to conjecture, speculation, or incompetent evidence. They cannot simply hazard guesses, however educated, based on their credentials.