The Role of an Expert Witness in Your Medical Malpractice Claim
4/21/2011One of the most pivotal steps in a medical malpractice claim involves the testimony of a person known as an expert witness.
Jeffrey H. Dover
Jeffrey H. Dover
An expert witness is required to provide scientific testimony on the validity of your claim. The expert witness must be a medical expert and be able to testify based on scientific evaluation of the plaintiff's medical records. These experts are vital because they provide the judge and jury with an explanation of how the defending medical professional actually committed negligence. Without this expert opinion, the technical aspects of medical negligence can sometimes be too complicated for the average person to understand.
There are different parts to an expert witness' testimony, including:
- Discussing Standard of Care. The expert witness will explain how the negligent doctor breached the standards of care for doctors in similar scenarios. This aspect of the testimony is for the jury to use in the process of coming to a final decision.
- Discussing the Error. Following the expert witness' discussion on standard of care, whether or not negligence actually caused the plaintiff's injury or complication must be identified. If the doctor's failure to uphold the standard of care in treating the plaintiff directly led to injury, the expert witness will confirm that in the testimony.
Many times, the expert's testimony is in the form of an affidavit, or written testimony. Some states require expert witnesses to be specialists in the medical field in which the negligence occurred. Expert witnesses can prove to be costly and may also be difficult to find, which is why having an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side to find an expert can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with a lawsuit.
Category: Medical Malpractice
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