Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex in the judicial system. Because of the complexity of these types of litigation, medical malpractice experts play crucial roles in these cases. The medical expert witness is important in a medical malpractice case in a number of different ways.
Establishing Legal Liability
A key role played by medical malpractice experts involves what is legally known as establishing liability. The injured person making a malpractice claim must establish that a particular health care provider or medical facility was negligent and that the negligence gave rise or caused the damages sustained by the patient.
Establishing legal liability in a medical malpractice case necessitates the testimony of a qualified medical expert witness. This type of witness is able to credibly provide his or her opinion on what caused the injuries in the first instance. The witness further conveys an opinion, based on his or her medical expertise, that connects the conduct of the health care provider with the injuries sustained by the patient pursuing a claim.
Establishing Extent of Injuries
Another arena in which medical malpractice experts are fundamental to a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit is in the establishment of the extent of injuries actually sustained by the plaintiff or person bringing the claim. A medical expert witness examines the claimant or plaintiff and makes an evaluation of the extent of injuries based on his or her expertise as a medical professional. The medical expert will also view all available medical records as part of rendering a determination about the actual extent of injuries sustained by the patient in a particular case.
Medical Malpractice Experts for the Defense
In the same way that the plaintiff or claimant in a medical malpractice matter utilizes expert witnesses, so does the defense. This usually is the insurance company who is defending a claim, either through the claims process itself or in a lawsuit. The role of experts for the defense is to deflect liability away from the health care provider against whom allegations of malpractice have been made.
Medical experts tend to focus on very specific areas within the health care industry. They specialize in specific areas of practice or even on single treatments or procedures. This level of specialization tends to enhance their reputations and expertise. Typically, medical malpractice attorneys have access to a wide spectrum of different types of medical expert witnesses to assist with cases being brought on behalf of their clients.