Expert Witnesses in a Medical Malpractice Case
An expert witness is a witness who is capable of giving an opinion testimony. A person can be an expert based on their education, training, experiences, and things of that nature. The minimum requirement of experience for someone to be an expert witness is somewhat fact specific. It depends on the area of expertise and the credentials of the person being offered as an expert.
An expert witness knows ways to help the jury understand the medical evidence and to give his or her opinion regarding the applicable standard of care applied to this particular medical professional that is being sued in the lawsuit. The expert witness can testify that what took place fell below the applicable standard of care.
If you are considering pursuing a medical malpractice suit, consult with a Raleigh medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your options and learn more.
Types of Expert Witnesses
In the medical malpractice setting, a Raleigh medical malpractice attorney may use a life care planner, an economist to calculate the economic damages, medical experts to help the jury understand the medical evidence, and the opinions about how a defendant departed from the applicable standard of care.
An expert witness can also be one of the medical professionals that treated the plaintiff, but is not on trial. An expert witness must be a medical professional with credentials similar to the person against whom the claim is brought. For example, if a person is going to sue an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, they must have another orthopedic surgeon, who is familiar with the Raleigh standard of care, and can testify that the Raleigh orthopedic surgeon’s conduct fell below the applicable standard of care for them to be called in as an expert witness.
Benefits and Harm
One of the benefits of having an expert witness testify on your behalf is helping the jury to understand very complex medical information. Also, these are very well-educated and well-credentialed people. By virtue of their credentials, their testimony would tend to add credibility to the corresponding side’s argument.
Someone may not want an expert witness on their case if the issue is harmful to them, when it is of no benefit because it does not help the jury understand the ultimate question, if it is duplicative, or a waste of time. Perhaps it is not worth the time or is an issue that a jury might understand through their own life experiences.
Expert witnesses are highly educated and it can be expensive to hire expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases. There are usually multiple expert witnesses involved in these cases, so the cost of pursuing a medical malpractice case can be substantial.
The weight given to the testimonies of expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases is up to the jury. Even though an expert qualifies as an expert witness, the jury is free to give weight to all, some, or none of his or her testimony. It depends on what the jury decides is or is not credible.