Causation (i.e., that the negligence causes or substantially contributed to the injuries that the Plaintiff is complaining of in the lawsuit) is one of the key legal hurdles that injured plaintiffs must overcome to prove their case at trial. Most times, it is best to have a treating doctor give testimony on causation to satisfy this legal requirement of proving your case. In Georgia, a physician’s testimony on causation may be introduced during the litigation in the form of an affidavit or Medical Report in certain situations at the pre-trial level. Below is a sample affidavit outlining this type of testimony.
STATE OF GEORGIA §
COUNTY OF FULTON §
Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared Dr. Thomas Jones, who being by me duly sworn, deposed as follows:
“My name is Thomas Jones, I am of sound mind, and capable of making this affidavit. My office is located at 1355 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia.
“I refer to my curriculum vitae attached to my deposition as proof of my qualifications to make this affidavit.
“Ms. Plaintiff originally complained of pain on the left side of her neck and left arm with tingling in her left hand. An MRI taken after the collision showed chronic degeneration of the intervertebral discs at two levels from C4 to C6 with numerous osteophytes at these same levels. It is possible for someone to have significant anatomic degeneration for a long period of time without significant manifestation of symptoms. As stated in my deposition, I would not be surprised if she had some sporadic symptoms of neck pain or numbness prior to the collision in May, 2017. However, in forming my opinion that the May, 2017 collision was more likely than not, medically speaking, the cause of her cervical discs becoming severely symptomatic and the need for subsequent surgery, I did consider and rule out plausible causes other than the collision. I understand that she may have had some head trauma from spousal abuse during the early to mid 1990’s, but I am certain that if she had the type and degree of neurological pain that she complained of following the collision, and prior to her discectomy and fusion, she would have sought remedial measures, including surgery, long before I saw her. Thus, absent some other historically and temporally-related trauma to Ms. Plaintiff’s neck, my opinion that this collision was a proximate cause of at least one of her disc herniations and subsequent surgery is sound, clinical medical opinion.”
FURTHER, AFFIANT SAYETH NOT.
Thomas Jones, M.D.
SWORN TO and SUBSCRIBED before me by Thomas Jones, M.D. on the ___ day of __________, 2017.
Notary Public in and for the State of Georgia
While affidavits and Medical Reports are allowed under the official code of Georgia for limited situations, it is preferable to have the physician come live to the trial, or at the very least to video tape the doctor’s testimony and play the video taped deposition for the jury at the trial. However, there are situations in which the affidavit or Medical Report may suffice. Obviously, this is a strategic decision that should be made by and experienced personal injury attorney.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.