What Role Does A Medical Expert Witness Play

A medical expert witness is often necessary in several types of legal cases, such as filing for a disability ruling or testifying in an auto accident case when there are significant injuries with long-term impact. However, they are probably most commonly used in lawsuits against doctors and medical facilities that require medical malpractice experts who can help the legal counsel for the injured plaintiff when contesting a diagnosis or a medical treatment decision by the respondent. Medical errors occur more commonly than many people realize and filing a successful medical malpractice suit can be a very difficult undertaking because often the actual negligent actor is a medical expert witness as well. While general doctors are not necessarily classified as experts, specialist physicians clearly fit in this category and can often be very helpful for both plaintiffs and defendants in a medical malpractice case.

Plaintiff Roles
There is almost always a medical malpractice expert involved in a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a health provider or facility. Malpractice claims are always defended vigorously by both doctors and treatment facilities, and many times the court may give them the benefit of the doubt when medical testing does not produce an exact informational result. Sometimes physicians must choose between treatment regimens and healthcare is not always an exact science. Doctors enjoy a certain amount of professional courtesy that other professions may not, and many times a personal injury case can be argued successfully when medical evaluation results leave room for interpretation by the medical professionals. A medical expert witness, or in some cases multiple witnesses, can help the plaintiff legal counsel establish that there were alternatives to the treatment decisions that were made. Most doctors are requested to file a deposition in typical cases, but many times medical malpractice experts can make a major difference in winning or losing a case and are actually put on the stand to testify.

Respondent Roles
Of course, medical expert witnesses can also be very helpful in respondent defenses as well. Even Social Security uses medical experts when evaluating the validity of a disability claim. And, for each claim that a plaintiff legal counsel may have regarding the actions or diagnosis by a respondent doctor, a different medical expert can be brought in to help solidify the defense team that is rejecting the claims of the injured party. Respondent legal counsels can inspect all evidence provided in discovery and make a decision as to who and what type of medical expert will be necessary to defend the case successfully, and in many cases they are absolutely required by the court before a case goes forward. Medical experts are usually chosen well in advance of an actual trial, and many lawyers rely on certain experts on a regular basis. For more information, please check out the JD.MD, Inc. website.