Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Order Allowing Expert to Testify in Elevator Accident Case For Failure to Comply with Statutory Rules Regarding Submission of Reports

Elevator accidents are incredibly dangerous, but they can be avoided if the owner and operator of the elevator performs routine maintenance and upkeep to ensure that it is working safely. When the owner and operator fails to take precautions against elevator malfunctions and an accident results, the victim can seek compensation from the owner and operator in a personal injury lawsuit. At Therman Law Offices, we have proudly served numerous victims of Illinois elevator injuries and we are standing by to help you assert your right to compensation.

Recently, a woman filed a complaint against the owners and operators of an elevator seeking compensation for injuries that she suffered while riding the elevator. During the litigation, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking to exclude the testimony of the physician that the defendant’s retained to examine the plaintiff to determine the nature and scope of her injuries and whether the injuries were caused by the elevator. The plaintiff asserted that the defendants did not provide a copy of the doctor’s report to the plaintiff within the timeframe required under Illinois statutes.

The trial court denied the motion, but later granted the plaintiff’s motion to certify a question for a higher court to answer regarding whether the trial court has discretion to allow the doctor to testify when the opposing party did not receive a copy of the examination report within the statutory timeframe.

The Appellate Court of Illinois for the Fifth District accepted the certified question. Reviewing case precedent and the statute at hand, the appellate court concluded that when a party fails to provide a copy of a medical examiner’s report to the opposing party within the time specified by the statute, or within an extension granted by the other party, the trial court must exclude the report and testimony from the examiner including any tests, X-rays, and opinions that stem from the examination. The statute provides a party with 21 days after the completion of the examination to submit a copy of the report.

The purpose of this rule is to ensure that the opposing party has sufficient time to review the report and to prepare a response. Court proceedings need structure and if a court can go against a statute clearly stating that a report must be submitted within 21 days after the completion of the examination, it will create uncertainty in all future proceedings.

The appellate court made it clear that a trial court does not have the discretion to go against this rule and that it cannot allow the testimony unless the opposing party who was examined agrees to allow the testimony or evidence into the record.

If you were injured in an elevator accident or some type of premises liability incident, we are standing by at Therman Law Offices to assist you with understanding your legal rights. Our team knows just how painful and frustrating this entire experience can be, which is why we offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and the legal process. Contact us today at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.