Posted by Sansone / Lauber Trial Lawyers on April 13, 2011SHARE IT
Any Missouri personal injury claim, whether it arises from a Missouri car or truck accident, from a dangerous product, or from just about any other cause a personal injury claim can be based on, the Plaintiff (the injured victim) must not only prove liability (legal requirement for the defendant and their insurance company to pay), but DAMAGES must be proven.
A mistake I learned early on in my career as a Missouri injury lawyer, after trying several St Louis personal injury jury trials, is that personal injury lawyers and their clients tend to focus on liability, proving the other person was at fault. Then cover damages and injuries to the victim relatively briefly as compared to the liability portion of the case. While using this approach I won all of my Missouri personal injury jury trials, however, I was disappointed in a few that the jury awarded my client less then what I expected (granted my expectation are always high).
The lesson I learned, when prosecuting a personal injury case, juries need to hear about damages, just as much, and even more in my opinion, than about liability. If the majority of your evidence is about why it is the other party’s fault then that is mostly what the jury will think about. Personally, I believe a trial should be 60-80% about the damages to the victim. Cover liability and cover it well, but make damages the focus and theme of the trial.
A major category of damages are future medical expenses, problems, future disability, future surgery, etc … In Missouri, proof of future damages in the form of personal injuries and symptoms must be established through a qualified expert, usually an MD.
“Expert testimony is properly admissible if it ‘will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.’ The essential test of expert opinion evidence is whether it will be helpful to the fact finder.” [Furthermore], “medical causation, which is not within the common knowledge or experience of a lay understanding, must be established by scientific or medical evidence showing the cause and effect relationship between the complained of condition and asserted cause.” Landers, 963 S.W.2d at 279. Landers v. Chrysler Corp., 963 S.W.2d 275, 279 & 281 (Mo.App. E.D. 1997)
Also see, Missouri Statute 490.065 about expert testimony in personal injury case
In any civil action, if scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.
In Missouri injury claims one of the most important pieces of evidence your Missouri personal injury attorney must use is favorable testimony from a medical doctor about past and future medical care and the necessity and reasonableness of the treatment and charges.
If you have questions about a Missouri injury case call Ben Sansone today for a free, no obligation consultation. We will explain your options and answer any questions you have, and if you feel that we can benefit your situation we will be happy to represent you.