Understanding the role of an expert witness in a personal injury lawsuit is critical to the success of many Indiana premises liability lawsuits. Generally speaking, an expert witness is used when the issues involved in the case are complex, scientific, or otherwise beyond the scope of an average juror’s common experiences.
Similarly, most medical malpractice cases require the testimony of an expert witness, and some car accident cases use the testimony of an accident reconstructionist. A recent case illustrates a slip-and-fall plaintiff’s successful use of an expert witness to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defense.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff took her trailer to the defendant tire shop for repairs. Upon arrival, the plaintiff entered the shop through the side entrance, approached the employee at the desk, and arranged for the repairs to be completed. The plaintiff then safely left the same way she had entered.
When the plaintiff returned later that afternoon, she again entered through the side door. The plaintiff then paid for the repairs and was told that her trailer was around the side of the building. The plaintiff walked out the main front door of the shop, made a right, and proceeded to walk around the building to her trailer.
As the plaintiff rounded the corner of the building, she stepped off the concrete sidewalk and onto a gravel strip that ran alongside the building. The strip, which was slightly below the level of the pavement, was designed to drain water away from the building. As the plaintiff stepped onto the gravel, she slipped and fell, resulting in serious injuries.
The plaintiff filed a premises liability case against the tire shop. In support of her claim, the plaintiff presented the testimony of an expert witness who was formerly a building inspector in that jurisdiction. The expert testified that the building code requires a “clear, continuous, and unobstructed” path from a store’s exit. Here, the expert opined, it was a violation of the city’s building code to have a gravel area so close to the shop’s main entrance obstructing the exit path.
The court accepted the expert’s testimony, as well as that of the plaintiff and another witness to the fall, finding that sufficient evidence was presented to submit the case to a jury. Thus, the court denied the tire shop’s motion for summary judgment.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Indiana slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated team of Indiana personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse has extensive experience handling a wide range of personal injury claims, including slip-and-fall cases. We are sure to take the time to get to know each client and their needs before recommending a course of action. Call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Indiana personal injury attorney.
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