Developing "Active Listening" Skills III

III. You Must Be Certain You Understand The Question Before Answering


Why you must be certain you understand a question before answering it.

Bertram v. Wunning 385 S.W. 2d. 803 (MO. App. 1965)

A physician testified that, in his opinion, there was a 90% chance that the plaintiff's injury had been caused by an automobile accident, but would not say that 90% constituted "reasonable medical certainty", because he did not know what this phrase meant. The Missouri court of appeals reversed the verdict for plaintiff and remanded for retrial. During the second trial, the doctor gave almost the same testimony, but added that for him, 90% would be reasonably medically certain.

In addressing the doctor's testimony, the appellate court noted that: "the testimony in the instant case materially differs from that he gave at the first trial . . . [because there was] a definite affirmance [of] reasonable medical certainty".

Can You Believe It?