Maryland Court Concludes Expert Testimony Necessary in Car Accident Case Against Insurance Company

After a car accident, a claim for medical expenses and other damages is typically submitted to the insurance company.  If the insurance company delays or refuses to pay the claim, however, accident victims may be unsure of their legal recourse.  Many people choose to hire a Maryland car accident attorney to file an insurance claim on their behalf and represent them in any subsequent legal action.  A lack of legal knowledge and training could be detrimental in bringing a lawsuit against a big insurance company.

In a June 12, 2018 case, the plaintiff represented himself in a lawsuit against his insurance company to recover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.  The plaintiff in the case had been involved in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured motorist.  The plaintiff’s insurance company paid him the $2,500 policy limit of his personal injury protection benefits as a result of the accident.  Thereafter, the plaintiff sought additional coverage pursuant to his uninsured motorist policy for medical expenses he incurred approximately six months after the accident to treat whiplash.  The insurance company rejected the claim, and the plaintiff filed a lawsuit with the Maryland circuit court.

The plaintiff’s bad faith claim and claim for punitive damages were dismissed by the court, and the matter went to trial on the breach of contract claim.  At trial, the plaintiff attempted to introduce his medical records and bills without expert testimony.  The court sustained the insurance company’s objection, ruling that the plaintiff could not testify as to the medical opinions, diagnoses, or amount of the bills.  Consequently, and due to the lack of expert testimony, the court granted the insurance company’s motion for judgment, concluding that the plaintiff had failed to prove his claim that the insurance company had breached their contract.  The plaintiff then appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

The insurance company argued the appeal should be dismissed because the plaintiff’s brief did not comply with the rules of procedure.  The court acknowledged that the rules are to be strictly followed, but it refused to dismiss the appeal because the defendant did not suffer any prejudice.

Turning to the merits of the appeal, the court explained that expert testimony is ordinarily necessary to establish that subsequent trauma was caused by an earlier injury.  Expert testimony is also required to establish that the treatment received was medically necessary and that the amount charged was reasonable.  The court concluded that in the current case, expert testimony was required, and the plaintiff had failed to provide expert testimony in both respects.  Accordingly, the appeals court affirmed the judgment in favor of the insurance company.

The dedicated lawyers at Foran & Foran represent victims in Maryland personal injury cases.  If you have been hurt in a car accident, injured on the property of another person or business, or suffered from faulty medical treatment, we may be able to assist you.  Schedule an appointment to discuss your case by calling (301) 441-2022 or submitting the website contact form.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Court Reviews Plaintiff’s Proof of Damages in Car Accident Case, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published July 28, 2017

Maryland Court Orders Insurance Company to Cover Loss for Wrongful Death Claims Arising Out of Car Accident, Maryland Personal Injury Blog, published August 17, 2016

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