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Damages – expert witness not necessary

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Zapata v Yugo J & V, LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op 02687 (3d Dept. 2020)

“Turning to the issue of damages, we reject Yugo’s contention that Supreme Court erred in not requiring expert testimony to prove plaintiffs’ damages. Generally speaking, “expert testimony is appropriate when it serves to clarify an issue that is beyond the ken of the lay juror and calls for professional or technical knowledge” (Payette v Rockefeller Univ., 220 AD2d 69, 74 [1996]; see generally De Long v County of Erie, 60 NY2d 296, 307 [1983]).

Here, there is no question that the injuries that plaintiffs’ sustained were a direct result of the fall precipitated by the deck collapse (see Madsen v Merola, 288 AD2d 520, 521 [2001]). Moreover, plaintiffs’ testimony regarding the nature and permanency of their injuries, coupled with the medical records introduced into evidence, were not beyond the competence of plaintiffs or the ordinary experience and knowledge of a lay jury so as to require expert testimony to render an appropriate damages award (see Payette v Rockefeller Univ., 220 AD2d at 74; compare Razzaque v Krakow Taxi, 238 AD2d 161, 162 [1997])”

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