The Swimming Pool : Part 1
Q: Last summer, I hurt myself at the bottom of my friend’s swimming pool. I remember walking toward it across the deck – but nothing afterwards until I awoke, four weeks later, in the hospital.
My friend says that I got to her pool taking three large steps on the tips of my feet. Six inches from the edge, my left foot slid forward, sort of tripping me into the pool. Although the deck was wet from rain and from people splashing in the pool, no one else had slipped.
I had been in this pool many times before the day of my accident and had never before had any trouble walking on the deck. A month before, my friend’s parents had applied Wood Pecker’s Wood Protector to their deck. What happens if I sue the company and say the ‘protector’ made the deck more slippery? Or sue the hospital for malpractice?
A: It is your burden to show that a defect in the product was a ‘substantial factor’ in causing your injury. You need evidence of a causal relationship between the wood protector and your fall into the pool. In a case like this, it generally is necessary to have an ‘expert witness’. Hiring one can be costly and problematic, depending on the types of testing and formulas involved.
It is not enough for an expert to base his or her opinion on ‘well-known facts’: for example, that oil can rise above water and can become slippery. A court is likely to disregard a ‘can’ opinion as ‘speculative’ and ‘conclusory’.
As for the hospital, an expert’s opinion merely that it departed from ‘good and accepted medical practice’ by prescribing a particular medicine might be dismissed as conclusory and speculative. A mere opinion that the treatment ‘delayed’ your recovery is likely to be considered inadequate.
The expert’s opinion must be based upon accurate statements of the evidence. It must contain factual assertions that are well-supported. The opinion must display a detailed train of reasoning.
These are among the many things that you may hear when you take this case to an attorney.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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