Since 2001, there has been a drop in the total number of paid medical malpractice claims against healthcare professionals. Although this may sound like good news, medical negligence is more common than you’d think.
The main reason for the drop in claims is that victims aren’t likely to file a lawsuit. The complications of the case might keep victims from filing a claim, but we are here to make things easier.
Let’s discuss one role during a medical malpractice lawsuit, the expert medical witness. Why are they important? Find out here.
Why Is an Expert Medical Witness Important?
A medical malpractice case almost always requires testimony from an expert medical witness. Without this key testimony, a judge might dismiss the case or decide the verdict too early.
Without help, the jury cannot sort through the complicated information that comes up during a medical malpractice lawsuit. For this reason and more, it is essential to have an expert opinion on the matter.
Medical Expert’s Testimony
There are two questions at the center of every medical malpractice case:
- Did the doctor follow the standard of care for physicians in the same position?
- Did the doctor injure the patient by failing to follow the standard of care?
An expert medical witness will answer these questions and allow the jury to decide whether or not the expert opinion is valid. A medical expert will also define the standard of care for the specific situation.
Because there are a lot of factors that go into a medical situation, medical negligence might not be the reason for patient injury. An expert must explain whether or not the doctor’s incompetence is to blame for the injury.
Finding an Expert Medical Witness
In a healthcare lawsuit, both the plaintiff and defendant must have experts before the trial begins. If either side fails to find a witness before the trial starts, the judge will rule in favor of the opposing party.
In some states, it is required to get an expert witness opinion before starting a lawsuit. States also vary on their definition of who is allowed to testify as a medical expert.
If the medical malpractice case involves a specialized field of medicine, the expert witness will have to be a specialist in that same area. If the case is about general medicine, you’ll have a wider range of doctors to choose from.
Is an Expert Medical Witness Necessary for Your Case?
If the medical malpractice is obvious, an expert medical witness is not necessary. The most common example of a case that does not require expert testimony is when a surgeon leaves a sponge inside of the patient.
If only the doctor or the medical staff can control what caused the injury, an expert opinion is unnecessary. If the injury can only occur because of failure to respond with the normal standard of care, an expert is not needed.
Don’t assume you don’t need an expert. Talk with your lawyer about the role of an expert witness in your case.
Do You Have Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
If you believe you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, the first thing you’ll need is a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can help you take a case to trial and find an expert medical witness.
If you or a loved one was a victim of medical negligence, you deserve compensation. Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law are available to help with personal injury cases like this. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.