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New York Car Accidents And Biomechanical Experts

October 16, 2012
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Our White Plains car accident lawyers are seeing more and more slimy and underhanded techniques being used by insurance companies to try and cheat injured car accident victims in New York out of their rightful awards.

The latest of these tactics involves using crooked experts including both defense doctors and supposed biomechanical engineers to offer opinions that the mechanics of the accident are incapable of causing the type of traumatic injuries which the car or truck accident victim sustained. Other hack engineers or quack doctors have tried to testify that pictures of car accident damage or repair bills show such a minimal impact that no injury could have resulted. The implication is clear that these defense experts are trying to get the jury to just assume that the injured plaintiff and their doctors are lying and to tune out the real evidence.

Our car accident lawyers aggressively fight these tactics through pre-trial motions to preclude these types of opinions and to quite often preclude the expert’s testimony all together. Careful examination of the expert’s reports and the law are necessary to fight this battle.

First, our New York accident lawyers carefully scrutinize the expert’s reports. Often these experts do not base the facts which they assume on the actual testimony, but simply assume facts without any foundation. The law in New York is clear that an expert may not render an opinion concerning bio-mechanics of an injury where the expert disregarded the actual facts of the case in forming his conclusion.

Second, our New York injury lawyers carefully analyze the expert’s qualifications. New York Courts recognize that just because a witness qualifies as an expert with respect to certain matters or areas of knowledge, it does not mean that he or she is qualified to express expert opinions as to other fields. Generally, doctors are not qualified to to offer an opinion regarding the biomechanics or physics of the collision, and an unsupported opinion that the mechanics could not have caused the injury is speculative and consequently insufficient to establish that a particular injury was pre-existing. Likewise, while a biomechanical engineer, if properly qualified may testify as to what forces are applied during an accident, they are not qualified to render a medical opinion on causation or lack of causation of an injury. In other words, an engineer cannot state whether a certain accident caused an injury or whether a certain injury was preexisting.

The law in New York also recognizes that expert testimony must pass the Frye test, which means that it must be generally accepted. The Court’s role is to keep untested, unreliable evidence out of court proceedings because the Courts are not laboratories in which to try out new theories to ascertain whether jurors will believe them or not. In general, it is the Defendants burden in seeking to admit bio-mechanical opinion evidence to establish that the expert’s proposed testimony is based on generally accepted methodologies and procedures in the area of biomechanical engineering and that their expert’s theory of causation is generally accepted in the scientific community. Without such a showing, any purported opinion is merely speculative and must be disregarded by the Courts. In fact, a recent decision has held that even where experts are qualified, they still may nevertheless be precluded from testifying because bio-mechanical engineering has not yet gained general acceptance. Other decisions have held that it is not generally accepted in the field of engineering that any relationship exists between the amount of damage and the cost of a repair and the severity of an injury.

Our car accident lawyers appear in all of the Courts in the New York City Metropolitan area, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester and Rockland. We have represented thousands of car accident victims in from both New York City and the Westchester and Rockland towns of White Plains, Rye, Scarsdale, Greenburgh, Elmsford, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Mt. Kisco, Mt. Pleasant, Armonk, Port Chester, Pelham, Pelham Manor, Hartsdale, Nyack, Spring Valley, Monsey, Clarkstown, Bronxville, and Ossining.

 
The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph