Medical malpractice claims are built on evidence that show a mistake was made and a patient suffered damages as a result of that mistake. However, in many of these claims, hospitals and/or doctors argue that either there was no medical error made or that care was provided in accordance with accepted standards.
In order to dispute these arguments, it is often necessary to utilize expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are often used to provide some medical context and background on a particular procedure or diagnosis. They should be able to help juries more clearly understand what is expected in the medical field and what steps a reasonable person would take in situations similar to the one in question.
However, just because someone works in the medical industry does not mean he or she is an appropriate candidate for an expert witness. The person chosen must have certain qualifications and understand the role of an expert witness in medical malpractice claims.
As noted in this article on expert witnesses on Slate.com, federal laws state that expert witnesses must have specific training, education, skills, knowledge and experience in the field for which they are testifying. In cases of medical malpractice, for example, an expert witness may be a doctor who has performed a particular procedure many times and therefore has a thorough understanding of what should and should not happen.
Once an expert witness is identified, he or she should be prepared for what will be expected. These witnesses are used to help explain complex and technical medical procedures and care standards to juries. In order to do this, they must be knowledgeable and present testimony based on reliable data and accepted scientific methods. They can also give their professional opinion.
It is important to note that expert witnesses are often compensated for their testimony and they cannot be forced to testify.
Finding and preparing experts for testimony can be quite complicated which is why these are tasks typically performed by experienced attorney. Working with your attorney to secure expert witnesses can prove to be a crucial aspect of your claim.