Monday, June 2, 2008

New case law on what constitutes "Reasonable Medical Certainty" by testifying doctors

In the case of Griffin v University of Pittsburgh, which is a May 19, 2008, Superior Court case, the court held that when a physician testifies that there was a 51-49% probability that the negligent act caused the injury, this was legally insufficient to offer an opinion to a “reasonable degree of medical certainty.” Although this is not a workers’ compensation case, most doctors spit out the phrase “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty” without actually defining its meaning.

Therefore, if you have a defense doctor who is a little less sure of the opinion he/she is offering, but also uses the magic language ask him/her to put a percentage on it. You might get lucky! The doctor could give some kind of split percentage as in this case and you can argue that based upon the Griffin case, the opinion is legally insufficient.

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