Chiropractors not qualified to serve as experts in cases involving physicians’ opinions

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Tammy Stewart and Aydrian Howard were involved in an automobile accident. At trial, the jury found for Tammy and awarded her $10,000 in damages. Tammy appeals the jury’s award and asks for a new trial. Tammy contends that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to allow the chiropractor she called as an expert witness testify on cross-examination regarding evidence of a spinal surgeon’s diagnoses and opinions as preserved in the surgeon’s notes. Tammy also contends that the trial court abused its discretion by denying her request for a mistrial on the ground that she had appeared before the trial judge previously in a criminal matter.

Conclusion (slip op. at 2):  Because we find that the trial court properly excluded the spinal surgeon’s opinions and diagnoses and that Tammy has failed to show any actual bias or prejudice, we affirm the trial court.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 7, 10, 11):  Our Court has decided that chiropractors are not qualified to serve as experts in cases involving physicians’ opinions . . . We have held multiple times that it was reversible error and inconsistent with substantial justice for the trial court to exclude evidence that a prior injury or condition caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages . . . A defendant in a personal injury action is entitled to challenge a plaintiff’s claim as to the nature, extent, and source of her injuries through cross-examination and argument.

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