Expert Testimony Allowed on the Issue of Recklessness in Medical Negligence Case

The Idaho Supreme Court has permitted an expert to opine that two defendants in a medical negligence case engaged in not just negligent but reckless conduct.

In Jones v. Crawford, 2009 Opinion 53 (Idaho S. Ct. April 8, 2009), a defendant appealed from an adverse jury verdict in a wrongful death case.  Plaintiffs charged that the decedent’s death from an air embolus after spine surgery was a result of the negligent and reckless conduct of the defendants.  The trial judge permitted the plaintiff’s experts to opine that the conduct of two of the defendants was reckless.

In affirming the trial judge’s decision to admit the expert testimony on the issue of recklessness, the Idaho Supreme Court said

it was the opinions of the experts regarding the community standard of care that was the focus of the testimony. The district court allowed the two experts to testify as to what conduct they would characterize as reaching a level of negligence that they saw as reckless. This testimony was permissible because (1) the experts had acquainted themselves adequately with the community standard for health care providers such as [defendant technician], and (2) their opinions as to the level of negligence of her conduct were not conclusions that the average juror would be qualified to draw.

Read the entire opinion here.