Virginia: Car Accident – a Lawyer’s Evidence

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On April 20, 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court issued its opinion in Arnold v. Wallace, 283 Va. 709 (2012), a Fairfax County auto accident case. Appeal focused on admission of Plaintiff’s patient’s medical records and of Defendant’s medical expert testimony.

Arnold found that the auto collision Defendant satisfied the “business record” exception for admission of Plaintiff’s patient chart, and that “objection to the foundation of an entire chart does not encompass an objection to specific opinions in individual documents”. Hence the Virginia Supreme Court held Plaintiff had “waived” objection to hearsay opinions in the patient chart being admitted, as “it is incumbent, open the objecting party to identify the passages within a business record offered into evidence that contain inadmissible opinions.” Id.*1-7.

Arnold also found no abuse of discretion in the trial judge not disqualifying Defendant’s retained expert simply because she was in the same medical practice as Plaintiff’s consulting expert. Justice Mims wrote: “[A]s the party seeking disqualification, [the car crash Plaintiff] bore the burden of offering sufficient evidence that [Plaintiff’s expert] revealed confidential information to [Defendant’s expert].” Id.*7-9.