If you or your legal counsel are preparing a case, you may at some point find the need to gather expert witness testimony. Courtroom cases are usually pretty stressful in general, but it may help you to have a better understanding of proceedings, including these witnesses. The more you know, the more prepared you are, and the more prepared you are, the better your case will be. To help you get started, we have a brief overview on medical expert witnesses and what their role is in court. Whether you go with one individual witness or choose a team of witnesses, the general hiring process and role of the witness is the same, so that’s up to you.
Choosing a Witness
The two main factors in choosing an expert medical witness are finding witnesses that are both skilled in their field and experienced in providing witness services to a court of law. Unfortunately, if they have just the one skill or the other, the process probably won’t run smoothly for you. You need your witness to have both qualities.
That the witness should know his or her own field should perhaps be obvious, but this point is often overlooked. However, you need to know if the witness won’t be adequately able to make their case if they doesn’t know the material or up to date with all relevant research. Also, if his or her credentials are called into question, it will weaken your whole case.
Perhaps less obvious, but equally important, is the fact that the medical expert witness services will be able to testify better if they’re familiar with the court system and have plenty of previous experience testifying. The witness needs to be familiar with all of their duties and obligations so that they doesn’t overlook anything. The witness also needs to be able to hold up under the pressure of cross-examination. Doctors new to the stand, however qualified they may be, can sometimes find the situation very nerve-racking, and if they look unsure, or worse, if the stress makes them forget the material, both them and the evidence they provide will start to look less convincing.
The Witness in Court
When hiring medical malpractice experts, you need to be aware that their duty to the court will override their duty to you, their client. They may not lie or mislead in order to create a better case for you, they can only present the facts as they know them to be while providing expert opinions if a subject is within their realm of expertise. This is a serious matter, and those who don’t take heed can find themselves fined or even imprisoned.
Even when you come prepared with expert witness services who speak the truth and do everything required of them, you may still be restricted in how you can use them. You won’t be able to bring in experts to offer extraneous information, only information that’s relevant to the case. If you try to bring in experts to give irrelevant information that sounds good for you, you may be accused of trying to cloud the issue. Therefore, you should only bring in witnesses that help to resolve the dispute, and nothing more.