Nearly all medical malpractice lawsuits require testimony from an experienced medical expert. Generally, the facts surrounding these cases are complicated for non-medical experts to determine if the patient’s healthcare should be held responsible for the injuries that the patient suffered. CPR Law advises that you should consult with an experienced attorney and a good doctor to determine whether or not you have a valid medical claim before you initiate any lawsuit.
It is important to learn ahead of time the reason expert testimony is so crucial in all medical negligence cases. You should also understand what the testimony should consist of, when such testimony isn’t required, and who can serve as an expert witness.
Importance of an expert medical testimony
Without reliable expert testimony, judges are likely to dismiss a case or decide the case too early. This is because the court might decide that the medical details to be considered are too technical for the jury to sort through without the help of an expert with deep knowledge of the field medicine in question. While the jury is not required to adopt the medical expert’s opinion, they must consider those facts.
Getting a doctor to testify on your behalf is an important early step in any medical malpractice lawsuit. Also, keep in mind that medical professionals are not cheap and are difficult to find.
The expert’s testimony
In any medical malpractice case, a medical professional will address two important questions. First, did the healthcare provider adhere to the standard of care for medical practitioners in the same circumstances? Secondly, did the expert’s failure to adhere to the standard of care result in injury to the patient?
The doctor will give a testimony about what a competent, normal medical practitioner would have done under the same circumstance in the case. He or she will give an opinion regarding whether the medical practitioner being sued lived up to the expected standard of care. Note that there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding the standard of care in any field, and so, the medical professional (witness) can use various pieces of evidence such as medical board guidelines or publications to help.
The medical expert should also testify about whether or not the healthcare provider’s breach of the duty of care resulted in injuries to the patient. There are different factors that must be considered in any situation. For you to have a valid claim, the doctor’s negligence or incompetence must have directly caused the injuries (outcome).
When do you need a medical expert witness?
Both the defendant and the plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must have medical experts and probably disclose the content of their testimony to the court, prior to the onset of the trial process. In case either side fails to meet this requirement before the set deadline, the court will rule in favor of the other party before the trial process starts. Therefore, it is recommended to work with a reliable attorney.