If you want to win a medical malpractice case, hiring a medical malpractice expert witness is likely essential. This expert can provide their “2 cents” on why malpractice is to blame for your injury. But these 2 cents could end up being worth much more when you emerge triumphant from the trial.
Are you thinking about filing a malpractice lawsuit? If so, chances are high that you’ll need a medical malpractice expert witness to write up a report for you even before you file. So don’t miss this opportunity to learn everything you need to know about finding and hiring the right witness (or witnesses) for your case.
What is an Expert Medical Witness?
A medical malpractice expert witness is a medical professional who has qualifications for providing testimony in a malpractice case. They can be doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, specialists, pharmacists, and more.
Each state has different laws governing who can be an expert medical witness. But most require them to have most or all of these qualifications:
- A board certification.
- Be a published author in a professional journal
- Have ample experience and training in the field of medicine related to the case.
- Be knowledgeable about the standard of care for the condition or injury the case involves.
- They must be practicing medicine now, or have been practicing at the time the lawsuit was filed.
- Have teaching experience.
- They should spend most of their time practicing medicine. They shouldn’t be a “career expert”, making a living from testifying.
Why is a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Necessary?
Your non-medically trained neighbor might insist you have a certain illness because “Dr. Google” told them. Will you believe them? Probably not.
But if a medical expert diagnoses you, you’ll take their word for it. The word “expert” conveys trust. An expert has years of study and experience to back up their opinion. They also have something of great importance for your malpractice case: credibility.
Jurors and judges will find your version of events much more credible when an expert weighs in. Their testimony is essential for proving the 4 elements necessary for winning your case:
- You received care from the defendant (the doctor or other professional who harmed you)
- The defendant failed to meet the standard of care and was therefore negligent.
- The defendant’s negligence injured you in some way.
- An injury caused harm (physical, emotional, financial).
The second element is where the medical malpractice expert witness can help the most. The exact “standard of care” in a given situation is difficult to determine. By definition, it’s what any competent, trained doctor should do in a particular situation. So only another expert doctor trained in the same field could say whether the plaintiff fell short of their duty.
Keep in mind that your opponent will likely bring on their own medical expert witness to “duel” with yours. Their witness will try to show that the doctor’s care wasn’t substandard, or that their negligence didn’t cause your injury.
Whom will jurors believe? The witness who seems most prepared and credible will likely have an impact. This is why it’s crucial to find an expert who’s up to snuff. But you won’t find one by typing “expert medical witness near me” into the Google search bar. We’ll tell you the best way to hire the right witness below.
How Do I Find a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness?
Did you know that in many states, you have to hire an expert medical witness before you can file a lawsuit?
This means you should make sure you have a case before you go through the hassle of hiring an expert. Speak with a malpractice lawyer. They can tell you whether or not they think your case has merit.
If you do have a case, the next step is finding the right medical malpractice expert witness. Your lawyer can help you with that as well. You may need “connections” to find someone qualified. Malpractice attorneys have those connections.
Lawyers with ample medical lawsuit experience can contact the right witness for your case, in any field of medicine. They find witnesses either through medical expert witness services or from working with them in previous cases.
Hiring a medical expert isn’t cheap. But here’s some good news. You don’t have to be the one making that investment. If your chosen law firm works on a contingency basis, they’ll front the cost of any witnesses needed. The firm receives compensation only when you do, after winning your case.
Cases That Don’t Require a Medical Expert Witness
For certain medical malpractice cases, expert testimony isn’t needed. Here are some examples:
- The case involves an assault. The medical professional sexually, verbally, or physically attacked the patient with intent to harm.
- The case is cut-and-dry. In some cases, the provider’s error or negligence is obvious. The jury can pinpoint how the injury happened and who did it, clear as day. This type of case is called “res ipsa loquitur” (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”). One example would be a surgeon amputating a patient’s right leg, when they were supposed to operate on the left one.
Keep in mind that even if your case seems indisputable, you may still need an expert witness. Doctors, hospitals, and their insurance companies will do all they can to dispute the error. They’ll try to brush off evidence and place blame elsewhere.
While reviewing your case, your attorney can tell you whether it’s in your best interest to hire an expert or not. You can speak with our competent malpractice lawyers at no cost. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.
Locate an Expert Medical Witness in Texas
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re looking for a medical malpractice expert witness in Texas. Here’s what you should know about finding and hiring one:
- In Texas, those who want to file a medical malpractice claim must hire an expert witness who can file a report on their behalf. This ensures the filer has enough evidence to make their claim.
- There’s a deadline for hiring an expert and providing their report. (Contact a Texas malpractice lawyer to find out how long you have, since the law may have changed).
- If you fail to provide the expert report within the deadline, the court may dismiss your case “with prejudice”. This means you can’t file a claim about your injury again.
- Texas also has laws governing what an expert medical witness’s report must contain. These laws serve up technical jargon in heaps—and it’s always changing. But there’s no need to worry. An experienced attorney will stay up to date on current law and make sure your reports meet the requirements.
If you’re struggling to find a medical malpractice expert witness in Texas, we may be able to help. We understand that what’s most important right now is that you have the opportunity to focus on your family and/or your recovery. Call us 24/7 to schedule your free consultation.