When lawsuits are filed by people, one of the most important steps they need to consider is to get a witness. By having a witness, notably an expert in a certain medical field, lawyers have a valid ground to further the case.
In medical malpractice cases, an expert witness is often called to testify. The reason for this is the difficulty in proving negligence of a physician especially where medical treatments are concerned. The mere testimony of the victim or patient is not enough to prove a physician’s liability in his profession. But with an independent medical practitioner to provide additional testimony, procedures and other medical facts can be well explained for the understanding of the judges and members of the jury.
Both the defense and prosecution panels can call an expert witness. Usually considered as expert witnesses are independent practitioners in the medical field whether retired or still practicing their profession. They are invited to interpret medical records, describe the medical condition of a patient, provide their own findings or that of their colleagues and help determine whether negligence took place through a violation of the standard of care physicians are required to adhere to and the types of possible damages to the patient. During the trial, they normally testify to support the patient’s claim of medical malpractice.
In order for a medical expert to provide a strong testimony, not only should he or she be knowledgeable about his field of expertise but if possible, he or she must also possess good public speaking skills. Someone experienced in the litigation process will make a favorable witness. It is important to note that as a witness, one is responsible for supporting the testimony of the patient or victim and should, therefore, have strong convincing power to make the judges and members of the jury believe in what he or she is saying.
The admissibility of a testimony given by a medical expert differs from state to state and federal rules relating to procedures and evidence. While some testimonies may be admissible in some state courts, they may not be given the same weight by the federal court.
There are many professional organizations, however, that have implemented regulations for their members who are in the habit of serving as expert witnesses during court trial. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are just some of the organizations that have set ethical guidelines for their members. The AAP is among the first medical specialty groups that have come up with a policy on appropriate medical expert testimony in 1989.
The formulation of these ethical standards resulted from the discovery in the past years of medical experts making profits from testifying and providing their views in medical malpractice cases. But with the regulations in place now, other physicians can already file complaints against their colleagues who they think are providing misleading and inaccurate information during trial.
Medical malpractice lawyers should be consulted in the event you feel you or a loved one were not given proper medical care or treatment for your condition. These lawyers should assist you in filing the necessary lawsuit until the completion of the trial.