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The Role of Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Updated May 30, 2020 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Expert witnesses are key parts of many personal injury cases, including and especially medical malpractice lawsuits. Since medical malpractice cases involve complicated health information, medical professionals testifying on your behalf can answer questions about medical procedures, diagnoses, and safety precautions.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help find the right expert witnesses for your medical malpractice case.

How to Prove Medical Malpractice

In general, you need to show four things to prove a medical malpractice case:

  • You had an established doctor-patient relationship
  • Your doctor breached the expected standard of care
  • You were injured
  • Your injury was a direct result of the doctor’s care or lack of care

As you might imagine, these items can be difficult to prove, and since the burden of proof is on you as the plaintiff, you need all the help you can get. That’s where expert medical witnesses come into play.

Why Medical Experts Are Needed

Medical malpractice cases require lots of technical explanations of complicated scientific and medical information, and these facts are usually too complex for people other than health professionals to understand. If the jury can’t understand the presented information, how can they determine who should be held liable?

To ensure the jury, judge, negotiator, mediator, or other parties are all on the same page, it is usually necessary to retain an expert medical witness who has professional experience relevant to the specifics of your case.

What Medical Expert Witnesses Do

The job of a medical expert witness is twofold: to explain the duty owed to the patient by the doctor and to convince the jury that the doctor breached that duty.

Prove Standard of Care

What would an average healthcare provider provide or do under similar circumstances? How would other doctors have approached this medical issue? What course of treatment would a reasonable medical professional recommend in this situation?

An expert medical witness will answer these questions and more in an effort to show how a competent doctor would have acted in the same or similar circumstances.

Show Breach of Care

After reviewing medical records and other types of evidence, an expert medical witness will present a detailed and thorough argument testifying that the doctor deviated from the standard of care. Additionally, the expert witness must show the jury how likely it was that the negligence caused your injury.

These explanations can get very complicated very quickly. A good expert medical witness will present the information in a way that is understandable by the jury.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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