Personal injury cases often hinge on why and how the injury occurred. Although the victim and other eyewitnesses can testify to what happened, Washington personal injury attorneys know that an expert is often needed to explain how and why the incident happened. An expert may only testify within the area of his or her qualifications, however. Furthermore, the expert’s opinions must have an adequate foundation. The court has discretion in determining whether an expert may testify.
A Washington appeals court recently considered whether an expert was qualified in the area of his opinions and whether he laid an adequate foundation for those opinions. The plaintiff was injured when the chair in which he was sitting on the deck of the defendant pizza restaurant broke where the arm attached to the seat.
The assistant manager on duty at the time examined the arms to ensure they were stable when setting up the deck. He had only identified two chairs as being unacceptable in the past 11 years. He was not aware of any other incidents when chairs at the restaurant broke.