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Court Says No to Neuropsychiatrist (NY)

November 11, 2016

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In <a href="http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2016/2016_07177.htm"><em>Scariff v Wall St. Mail Pick Up Serv.,</em> <em>Inc.,</em></a> the court dealt with whether plaintiff’s expert neuropsychiatrist was able to testify at trial about plaintiff’s injuries. Neuropsychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The plaintiff was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant while walking across the street. During the damages phase of a jury trial, the plaintiff did not offer any testimony from her treating physicians. Instead, the plaintiff submitted the testimony of an expert neuropsychiatrist, who testified that the plaintiff had severe major depression as a result of the accident, and that she also had cognitive problems. But the trial court precluded the expert neuropsychiatrist from offering any testimony regarding the plaintiff's medical complaints or the accident history. The jury found that the plaintiff did not sustain a serious injury within the meaning of Insurance Law § 5102(d), and a judgment was entered in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiffs dismissing the complaint. The plaintiffs filed an appeal.</p>
The Appellate Division held the trial court’s ruling was proper. "A non-treating physician, retained only as an expert, may not testify regarding the history of an accident as related by the plaintiff or concerning the plaintiff's medical complaints. The expert may give an opinion based on an examination of the plaintiff."
Thanks to Paul Vitale for his contribution to this post and please write to <a href="mailto: mbono@wcmlaw.com">Mike Bono</a> for more information.

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