Civil litigation is usually the result of a person who feels they have suffered harm due to the negligence of another person or organization. Claims will involve seeking damages as a result of such judicial findings as failing to provide a standard of care that can include failure to provide appropriate medical treatment, failure to prevent probable injuries, deliberate misconduct, failure to provide the right medical test results…etc. An essential component of civil litigation that involves physical and emotional damage is the medical expert witness.
The medical expert witness provides evidence and testimony for either the defense or plaintiff in a case. He or she is also used in criminal cases where one is accused of committing a crime that involved injury or death. Expert witnesses are normally enlisted to testify in such cases as vehicle accidents, medical malpractice claims, slip and fall incidents, improper medical diagnosis or treatment, and much more. Medical expert witnesses are enlisted by the state such as in a criminal trial, or they are used by either the defense or plaintiff in a civil trial.
There are many advantages to becoming a medical expert witness. The fee one receives can be quite substantial. One can make a fairly good living as a medical expert witness. Expert witnesses can be paid hourly or as a lump sum. Fees can range from $50.00 per hour to over $500.00 per hour. They are paid for their particular medical experience and for providing the facts, including how they arrived at their conclusion after they have studied the facts.
The medical witness can also be considered a valued part of maintaining the integrity of the judicial system. Most medical witnesses are hired because of the nature of the particular case and that they specialize in that area. There is a high expectation that these expert witnesses are unbiased and present their opinions in an unbiased manner. A quality medical expert medical can gain a lot of respect and recognition for their work.
Most prosecutors and law firms have their own list of medical witnesses. The attorney will assess a case to determine which type of medical expert would help his or her case. Although they are paid for their services by a law firm or the state, they are mandated to follow a strict code of ethics. They must also have the experience, education, and qualifications to be considered a medical expert. When assessing whether one is a medical expert, Judges will consider whether the expert’s opinion has been reviewed by other peers in the medical community and if the opinion has been accepted by others in his or field. The guidelines to accept one as an expert medical witness vary from state to state, and federally. In general, most state laws conform to federal rules regarding malpractice expert testimony. It is important for one to understand both the state and federal guidelines for becoming an expert witness.
The medical witness plays an important role in determining medical negligence. Courts and juries rely on the testimony of expert witnesses in order to make their own conclusions. A medical expert witness is a rewarding and lucrative career.