If you are involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit, chances are you may need the help of a medical malpractice expert witness. While your attorney can help you decide which type of witness is needed, keep in mind there are several categories to choose from.
1. Nursing experts testify about nursing care.
Medical claims that question the quality or effectiveness of nursing care a patient received may need to hire a nurse expert to review nursing notes to determine whether the standard of care was met. Omissions and errors may also be identified, along with the patient’s condition, treatment, and progress. Ideally, a nurse expert should have legal experience in evaluating medical records and providing testimony in court proceedings.
2. Pharmaceutical experts provide testimony on medications.
A medical lawsuit that includes patient problems with prescriptions and medication may benefit from the services of a pharmaceutical expert witness. This may be a pharmacist with or without legal experience who can assess a patient’s treatment with certain prescriptions or medications that impacted his or her health, safety, or well-being. The witness may be able to offer a professional opinion on whether the right medication, industry-recommended dose, and appropriate safeguards were followed.
3. Physician experts evaluate medical reports.
Medical doctors frequently give testimony about the type and quality of care given a patient. Usually the doctor practices medicine in the same field as that in question, although the expert witness may reside in another county or state. Physician witness statements are sometimes made live for depositions and courtroom testimony. In some cases, however, the doctor may video-record a statement or participate in legal proceedings with the help of videoconferencing technology.
4. Diagnostic testing experts offer insight to electronic tests.
Technicians who operate testing equipment that generates ultrasound or MRI images for diagnostic purposes might be asked to testify about a procedure. A specific machine’s capabilities or limitations may be in question, and the expert can help to confirm whether reports accurately indicate that the machine and its findings were reliable. Operator credentials may also be evaluated if there is a question about testing techniques.
Finding a reliable medical expert witness may make the difference between success and failure in a medical claim. A skilled medical malpractice attorney can access databases with suitable experts who can be considered for litigation support. Although there is a fee for this service, the cost may be well worth it.