Is Expert Testimony Required In This Personal Injury Case?

Date: October 6, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

            Pam was a guest at the Ten Star Hotel. During her stay, unfortunately, she was assaulted by robbers losing her valuables and suffering severe personal injury as a result of the assault. She would eventually file a civil liability suit against the hotel alleging inadequate security. Specifically, she alleged that there was a failure by the hotel to repair and inspect the various hotel room doors as well as a failure to limit access to the hotel premises which caused her personal injury.

            At the time of the trial, the attorneys representing the insurance company for the hotel made a motion before the Judge to dismiss the suit stating that Pam did not have any expert testimony to support her conclusions regarding the inadequacy of the security at the hotel.

            There are many instances where an individual bringing a personal injury lawsuit does need an expert witness before a Judge would allow the case to go to trial. We see that most often in medical malpractice cases, defective products cases, and construction cases.

            Fortunately for Pam, the Court concluded that a jury would be capable of determining whether the Defendant/hotel had undertaken reasonable measures to provide for the safety of its guests. The Court found that while expert testimony might be appropriate in hotel security cases, it is not essential, as jurors do not require expert guidance to determine whether security measures are reasonable.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.