A medical expert witness is a medical professional who offers their opinion
on an illness or injury that is crucial to a court case. For instance, if a client
is trying to prove that a doctor negligently severed their blood vessel
during surgery, causing damage, a medical expert witness can confirm
that this is the case.
Medical expert witnesses act independently of legal counsel. They explain
all relevant medical issues to the court, based on questions asked of them
by each side.
What Can a Medical Expert Witness Do for Me?
Solicitors and Barristers can often utilise medical expert witnesses during
both the discovery and trial stages. There are a few different things you
could ask a medical expert witness to comment on. These might be
relevant in a court hearing or at other stages in the settlement of a case.
Standard of Care
When you’re attempting to mount a case of medical malpractice, the first
thing you’ll need to prove is that the doctor failed to meet the standard of
care they owed to the patient.
The standard of care varies depending on the procedure carried out. A
medical expert witness can advise on the relevant standard and whether
or not it was breached.
Even if a doctor or nurse fails to meet the relevant standard of care, they
won’t be liable for medical malpractice unless there was a causal link
between their failure and an injury suffered by your client.
This is where the technical expertise of a medical expert witness comes in.
There may be conflicting evidence as to the true cause of an injury that
only a health professional will be able to advise on.
Personal injury experts
Expert witnesses are instructed in personal injury claims to provide an opinion on
medical and non-medical technical issues within their field of qualification. CPR 35 sets out the procedural rules relating to expert evidence. It is the duty of an expert to help the court on matters within their expertise and their duty to the court overrides any obligation to the party instructing or paying them.
In personal injury claims expert evidence is very important. A medical expert will give evidence about the injuries sustained in the accident. A non-medical expert can provide evidence about liability issues. The expert must understand the evidence and the particular issues to be addressed in the report and understand how these interact with the legal tests of liability, causation and quantum.
Getting the Right People on Your Team
As a medical malpractice solicitor, you’ll know how difficult it can be to
prove certain things to a judge. Factors pertaining to medical issues can be
especially tricky, as the technical information involved may be very precise.
This is why you need a medical expert witness on your side in a medical
malpractice case and a personal injury case so check out our directory of