Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Cases
What Does an Expert Witness Do in a Medical Malpractice Case?
While each medical injury is different, all medical malpractice lawsuits require expert witnesses. Experienced medical malpractice lawyers, like our award-winning team at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, know when and how to use a good expert witness. If you are planning on filing a claim in a Pennsylvania court, then make sure you understand these points about experts.
Why Do I Need an Expert Witness in My Medical Malpractice Claim?
There are several reasons why medical malpractice plaintiffs need expert witnesses.
The Certificate of Merit
First, in Pennsylvania, all med mal plaintiffs must file a “Certificate of Merit.” The purpose of this document is to protect doctors and other medical practitioners from frivolous lawsuits. An expert witness must sign the Certificate of Merit to verify that the expert:
- Reviewed the case
- Believes there is a basis to conclude that the doctor’s care, skill, or knowledge was below the standard of care
- Thinks there is reason to believe the doctor’s actions caused the patient’s injuries
Therefore, in Pennsylvania, a jury cannot hear your medical malpractice case unless you have a certifying expert witness.
Helping the Jury to Understand Your Case
Secondly, expert witnesses will help your jury to understand your injuries and damages and why you should win. Even the most common injuries are often hard to understand. Most jurors will have no scientific or medical training. However, a jury that does not understand your injuries will be unlikely to find in your favor. A good expert witness will know how to break down and communicate these complex topics. For example, they may use diagrams, photos, graphs, or videos.
Investigating Your Case
Finally, expert witnesses can help your legal team figure out what went wrong. This information will help them to create a winning strategy for your med mal case. It will also aid your lawyer in figuring out what other evidence, documents, and records you will need to prove your case in the courtroom or the negotiation room.
How Will a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Testify at Trial?
When your case goes to trial, a testifying medical malpractice expert witness will try and answer these two major questions:
- Did your doctor follow or depart from the appropriate standard of care? In essence, this question asks whether other medical professionals in the same specialty as your doctor would consider your doctor’s actions to be reasonable. As an expert for a plaintiff, your expert witness will try to show that your doctor acted unreasonably.
- Did your doctor’s actions cause your injuries? In other words, your expert witness will want to show that your doctor’s unreasonable course of conduct caused the injuries you suffered.
Who Can Testify as a Med Mal Expert Witness?
The rules for expert witnesses in a medical malpractice claim are not exact. Instead, they depend somewhat on the details of the case and your judge will decide whether or not your expert witness can testify. In certain instances, the judge may require an expert witness with the same medical specialty as the defendant. In other instances, a generalist may be able to testify. In general, the judge will look at the witnesses:
- Research experience and publications
- Work experience
- Experience(s) testifying as an expert witness in other cases
How Do I Know My Medical Malpractice Lawyer Will Pick the Right Expert Witnesses?
By choosing the nation’s leading personal injury law firm! At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our experienced attorneys have worked with the best expert witnesses in the United States for more than 60 years. We know how to identify, recruit, interview, and train the best med mal expert for your case. In fact, we’re so confident in our abilities to win big for you, that we’ll put our money where our mouth is: If you don’t get paid for your medical injuries, then neither we will. Unless we are successful in negotiating a settlement you approve of or win a jury award, we won’t take a fee for our legal services. You’ll walk away paying nothing. In addition, we will pay all of the costs of fighting your case–including all payments to medical malpractice expert witnesses–out of our own pocket and simply subtract this amount from your award at the end. Plus, the consultation is always free. Call, text, chat, or email the nation’s best personal injury lawyers today.
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