Massachusetts Court Discusses Expert Testimony in Product Liability Cases

People harmed by dangerous products have a right to seek compensation from the entities that developed and sold the defective device. Product liability claims are complicated and typically involve issues beyond the realm of understanding of the average person. As such, in most product liability cases, the plaintiff will need to hire an expert to offer testimony regarding the nature in which the product in question was defective and how the defect caused the harm sustained. If a plaintiff’s expert is precluded from testifying, it may prevent them from establishing liability. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the admissibility of expert testimony in product liability cases in a matter arising out of harm caused by a defective motorcycle. If you were injured in an accident caused by a defective product, it is wise to meet with a Cape Cod product liability attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The History of the Case

It is reported that in July 2013, the decedent was operating a motorcycle manufactured by the defendant when he collided with another vehicle that was making a U-turn. The impact caused the motorcycle’s fuel tank to burst, which subsequently caused a fire. The decedent sustained second and third-degree burns that required over twenty surgeries to treat. He later died by suicide.

It is alleged that the plaintiff instituted a product liability lawsuit against the defendant on behalf of the decedent’s estate. The defendant moved for the plaintiff’s expert report to be deemed inadmissible and for summary judgment. The court granted both motions, and the plaintiff appealed.

Expert Testimony in Product Liability Cases

The appellate court noted that, under Massachusetts law, the plaintiff bore the burden of proving each element of his claim beyond a reasonable doubt. In product liability cases in which the nature of the defect and the link between the defect and the accident are complex, expert testimony is required to establish the elements of the claim.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the plaintiff’s expert witness did not offer an opinion that the alleged defect, an improper weld on the right side of the motorcycle tank, caused the decedent’s harm. The appellate court explained that without expert testimony on the issue of causation, the plaintiff could not establish that there was more than a mere scrap of evidence that warranted the submission of the issue of liability to the jury. As the plaintiff could not establish liability, the appellate court found that his claims were properly dismissed via summary judgment.

Talk to a Skillful Cape Cod Attorney

Defective products often cause significant and irreparable harm, and the parties responsible for making and selling such products should be held accountable. If you were injured by a dangerous product, you should talk to an attorney about your options for seeking damages. The skillful product liability lawyers of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and aid you in seeking the maximum damages recoverable under the law.  You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at 888-262-6664 to set up a meeting.







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