A boy had the misfortune of experiencing accidents. All the four accidents resulted in trauma to the head. In 2000, the boy was hit by a baseball above the left eye while he was sliding onto first base. He was not treated for this injury.
In 2001, the boy also figured in an accident in his home. He was in the bathroom when the ceiling fell and hit him on the neck and head. His mother found him semi-conscious. He was taken to the emergency room and bruising in his neck and back were noted.
On May 15, 2002, he was struck in the head with a basketball. He was taken to an emergency room and he was diagnosed with contusions of the face, scalp and neck.
In September 2004, he was sitting in the passenger seat of their car; he had his seatbelt on when their car rolled over three times. He was hospitalized and a CT scan was performed on his head and x-rays on his spine and left knee. The results were negative.
In October 2004, he again figured in another vehicle accident. He was taken to the hospital because he complained of headache and dizziness, tremors in the legs and lack of appetite. He was diagnosed to be suffering from a viral infection and post-concussion syndrome.
The boy’s mother then filed this case in damages against the owner of their apartment. The complaint seeks the payment of damages for the brain injury he sustained resulting from the ceiling falling on the boy. The mother claims that her son suffered from impaired brain function due to the trauma to the head.
During pre-trial the mother informed the apartment owner that she was presenting a neuropsychologist with a doctoral degree. And that the neuropsychologist was not a medical doctor but that he was going to testify as to the effects of the head trauma experienced by the boy consequent to the collapse of the ceiling on his head. He was going to testify that the boy’s learning abilities and educational achievement were diminished as a result of the accident. The mother submitted a report written and signed by the neuropsychologist on the traumatic brain injury which resulted from the collapsed ceiling.
The apartment owner then moved to stop the neuropsychologist from testifying. The apartment owner argued that the testimony of the neuropsychologist and the conclusions he made were not based on any objective medical evidence in the record; also, the apartment owner insisted that the conclusions reached by the neuropsychologist that the boy’s learning abilities were impaired is flawed because the neuropsychologist did not even include a review of the boy’s school records before the 2001 accident and after it. The apartment owner also pointed out that the neuropsychologist’s report did not consider all the other accidents the boy head which may have contributed to the impairment of his learning capacity. And the neuropsychologist failed to note that CT scans of the boy were negative for brain injury but just the same the boy was brought back to the hospital complaining of headache and dizziness and a new CT scan was performed but also had a negative result.
The trial court allowed the neuropsychologist to testify on traumatic brain injury and on the effects of traumatic brain injury. The neuropsychologist in Queens and Staten Island was also allowed to give his opinion on how traumatic brain injury can be diagnosed and treated; and to explain the mental, emotional and behavioral symptoms of traumatic brain injury. The trial court, however, prohibited the neuropsychologist from testifying that the boy suffered from traumatic brain injury that resulted from the ceiling collapsing on him. The trial court held that there just was no medical evidence that the traumatic brain injury suffered by the boy was caused by the collapsed ceiling.
The apartment owner moved for a directed verdict. When the trial court granted this motion of the apartment owner, the mother appealed. The only question before the Court is whether or not the trial court erred in limiting the testimony of the neuropsychologist.
The Court held that the trial court prohibited the testimony of the neuropsychologist because the expert opinion was not based on any evidence. The Court saw that there is no medical foundation for the proposed testimony. It was not precluded because the neuropsychologist was not a doctor. It was the lack of a medical foundation for his proposed testimony and not because he was not qualified to testify. The expert’s conclusions were not based on medical evidence that the brain injury that caused the impairment of the child was the brain injury sustained when the ceiling collapsed on the child.
The Court reversed the directed verdict and remanded the case to allow the mother the opportunity to present medical evidence as basis for the testimony of their expert.
To successfully prosecute a damage suit, an NYC Brain Injury lawyer must not only present the testimony of an expert witness on the effects of a brain injury on the quality of life. An NY Brain Injury attorney must also present medical evidence that proves the existence of brain injury. A New York City Brain Injury lawyer must also present evidence that the brain injury was proximately caused by the neglect or wrongful act of another. Come and speak with the New York Brain Injury attorneys at Stephen Bilkis and Associates. You may proceed to any of the offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates at any of their offices in the New York area.