Any type of vehicle crash case can be complicated, but that possibility is especially high if yours is a truck accident case. These cases often involve powerful legal counsel working against you and scientific and medical evidence that may be especially complex. To make sure you're prepared to take on these challenges, it's well worth your while to retain your own experienced team of Santa Barbara truck accident lawyers.
A truck accident case arising from a crash to our north is a good example of how this can occur. In the collision, a tractor-trailer rear-ended a Taft school bus. The bus driver allegedly endured a traumatic brain injury (TBI) so severe that its symptoms prevented her from returning to work.
It's important to note that you don't have to hit your head to suffer a TBI in a rear-end crash. In fact, you can experience a TBI just from whiplash triggered by the crash impact. The effects of these TBIs can range from severe headaches to serious memory issues to an inability to concentrate to extreme fatigue.
The truck driver and his employer wanted the bus driver to submit to a mental examination by the defense team's neuropsychologist. It's not unusual for a defendant to want their medical expert to examine you but, if they do, it's important to make certain you're getting all the information that's available to the defense team.
To that end, the bus driver refused to undergo the exam unless her legal team received "all the raw data and test information from the examination." The defense complained that this was virtually impossible because making such a disclosure would be a violation of the ethical rules for neuropsychologists.
The courts eventually sided with the bus driver in resolving the impasse. While defendants are generally entitled to seek a mental exam of a plaintiff who has placed her mental state at issue as part of her case, the defense has to get court permission to compel the plaintiff to submit to the exam.
The Info Was Necessary for Cross-Examining the Defense Expert
When making these rulings, the trial court must balance the defendant's right to seek potentially relevant evidence against the plaintiff's right to cross-examine the defense's experts. In the bus driver's case, the plaintiff's counsel needed the information in dispute to "effectively scrutinize the way the data was collected, determine if there are discrepancies, and cross-examine the neuropsychologist on the basis and reasons for the neuropsychologist’s opinion." That need outweighed the defense's concerns about the ethical obligations of neuropsychologists, especially given that the court had already issued a protective order to shield the confidentiality of the information that would be disclosed.
What the bus driver's case tells us is that, even if your case seems (at first blush) to be a straightforward rear-end injury accident matter, it may ultimately become something that involves nuanced, varied, and complex issues ranging from the rules of civil court procedure to the rules of professional ethics for certain medical specialists.
Whatever comes your way, you need to be certain you're fully prepared by retaining the Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP. Whether your case involved a negligent driver, a defective truck, or multiple problems that led to your accident, we're here to help you get everything the law says you deserve. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.