The Importance of Expert Testimony in a Medical Malpractice Case

The Importance of Expert Testimony in a Medical Malpractice Case

The Importance of Expert Testimony in a Medical Malpractice Case

Expert witnesses play a crucial role in most medical malpractice cases. When you hire a medical malpractice attorney in Baltimore, your attorney is more than likely to hire expert witnesses to support your claim. Due to the complexity of modern medicine, medical experts are required to investigate and clarify exactly how the doctor acted with negligence and was liable for the patient's injury. Let's look in more detail at how expert witnesses can help you win your medical malpractice claim. 

The Importance of Expert Testimony in a Medical Malpractice Case

If you've become injured as a result of medical malpractice, you may seek compensation from the negligent physician or healthcare provider. However, successfully winning a medical malpractice case is easier said than done. Not only is modern medicine highly specialized and often hard for non-specialists to understand, but jurors tend to hold doctors in high esteem and therefore start with bias in favor of the defendant. 

These challenges emphasize the burden of proof on you, the injured plaintiff, more so than in any other type of personal injury case. Overcoming these obstacles usually takes an experienced medical malpractice attorney and a careful selection of experienced and very credible expert witnesses

How Expert Witnesses Help Prove Liability 

To win your medical malpractice case, your attorney must prove that your physician failed to meet the expected standard of care that was owed to you within the doctor-patient relationship. They must demonstrate clearly that your doctor acted with less skill and care than a similarly trained, competent doctor would have provided under the same circumstances. To achieve this, your attorney must retain an expert witness who specializes in the same medical field as the defendant. 

For instance, an anesthesiologist expert witness would be required to testify in a case where the patient was harmed by a negligent anesthesiologist. Your expert witness can then explain to the jury exactly how the defendant's actions were negligent: how they deviated from the expected standard of care. On top of this, the expert would then need to explain precisely how the defendant's negligent actions caused your injuries. These two factors together would prove the defendant's liability. 

Examples of Experts in Medical Malpractice Cases

If you were harmed by a surgical error, your attorney would use a surgeon expert witness to investigate the accident and testify in court. If misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused your injury, your attorney would probably retain a diagnostician expert. Likewise, a birth injury would ordinarily require the testimony of an obstetrician expert. 

For errors in the prescribing or dispensing of medication, a pharmacist expert might be called upon. Sometimes injuries can occur during physical therapy, in which case a physical therapist expert might be retained. Nurses can also serve as expert witnesses in cases where inappropriate patient care led to an injury. Even hospital administrators can provide expert testimony if a hospital's policies and procedures were inadequately defined or enforced, with harmful results.  

How Expert Witnesses Help Prove Damages

Proving the liability of the negligent medical practitioner is only half of the battle in a medical malpractice case. The second half is proving the value of your damages: the sums of money you're seeking to recover for each loss you've suffered as a result of your injury.  

The defendant's legal team is likely to dispute the extent of your injury and any other harm you've suffered because of it. An expert witness can help establish the severity of your injuries, how much treatment you're likely to require in the future, and how much your total ongoing treatment will cost. 

Who Qualifies as an Expert Witness in Medical Malpractice?

There are strict requirements for expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases. These qualifying criteria vary from state to state. In Maryland, an expert witness must have clinical experience or teaching experience in the same medical specialty as the defendant, and they must be board certified in that specialty or in a closely related field. They must also have practiced or taught in the relevant medical field within five years of the date when the medical malpractice occurred. 

During a medical malpractice trial, the defendant may also hire their own expert witnesses to convince the jury that the defendant acted in accordance with the expected standard of care and wasn't responsible for the plaintiff's injuries. To win the jury over, the expert witnesses in your corner need to be as knowledgeable, credible, and persuasive as possible. 

How Your Medical Malpractice Attorney in Baltimore Finds Experts

Over the years, seasoned medical malpractice attorneys collect a database of expert witnesses in their city and state. So if you were injured in Baltimore, it's wise to choose an experienced local attorney with many successful medical malpractice cases under their belt. 

When building your case, your attorney can call upon their contacts and choose the ideal expert witnesses to bolster your claim and help you achieve a favorable financial outcome. Learn more here about the help an experienced Baltimore attorney can provide. 

Medical malpractice cases can be challenging to win. The success of your case may well come down to the quality of experts your attorney chooses to use. With the right attorney by your side selecting the most credible expert witnesses, you stand a far higher chance of winning the fair compensation you deserve.