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

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UNPUBLISHED

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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Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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