An expert medical witness is an authority in the medical field who is brought into cases to discuss different elements involved. These elements can range from items involved in the design of medical equipment to the effects of medicine. Medical witnesses are able to pair their training and certifications with relevant experience. They can help provide information and a different perspective to a case, and provide an expert opinion based solely on facts.
The Role of an Expert Medical Witness
Much like everything in life, the role that an expert medical witness plays has changed over time. The main function that a medical witness will play is the ability to help make certain facts clear and understood in a court room. While this is their main role, different states have passed laws that limit the ability to use a medical witness. Michigan passed a law that limits the use of expert witnesses in non-homicide cases, and Rhode Island passed a law that allows courts to appoint a specific expert witness to speak on any issue at hand. Different judges and juries all around the world have different opinions and biases towards using an expert witness during a court hearing. Due to this, judges have been given discretion to allow and disallow expert testimony. There are still several guidelines which establish what a judge should consider during their decision of involving an expert witness or not.
In one of the latest studies of 500 trials, expert witnesses were involved in 86 percent of the court cases. When looking at the different medical cases, the experts vary in subject matter. Even though the situations may vary, the facts which each medical expert witness brings to light are extremely important, and need to be considered by the judges and juries.
During a complicated medical case, the jury and judge aren’t always going to understand the specifics of the case. If someone has received a hip replacement, then later suffered from a foot drop as a result of the procedure, the jury and judge might not understand any of it. A medical witness may be brought into the court room in order to clear up any confusion or lack of knowledge that the jury and judge may have. The medical witness is able to explain in full detail what a foot drop is, and how a poor hip replacement may have caused it. A foot drop involves injury to the sciatic nerve, and the jury may have had no idea about those details. Major injuries like this are what medical witnesses are typically used for.
Using a medical witness in your case offers a wide variety of benefits that will help not only you, but the whole courtroom. Medical witnesses are able to analyze each case, and better help support and explain the truth behind the medical case in front of them. They will be able to explain in full detail whatever procedure is being discussed, the equipment that was used during the procedure, and the risks of the procedure and device. They will also be full of knowledge about the drugs that were prescribed to the patient after the surgery. Medical witnesses have a large impact on the factual outcome of each medical case.