Are Expert Witnesses Necessary For Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases are typically based upon the negligence of a doctor. A court of law determines whether or not a doctor made reasonably responsible choices in a medical situation. It is hard to determine what choices are or are not responsible. The facts of most malpractice cases are complex and highly technical. The jury members simply can’t understand these facts on their own. A medical malpractice lawyer in Florida may want to use an expert witness.
An expert witness is someone who explains the technical facts of the case to the jury. A witness does this from the standpoint of the victim. If you have filed the case, the witness attempts to show how you have suffered due to negligence. On the other hand, the expert witness of the defendant seeks to counter your claim. This is precisely why a medical malpractice case is often known as the ‘battle of experts.’
Why Are Expert Witnesses Necessary?
In Florida, you are legally required to obtain the opinion of a medical expert before filing a medical malpractice case. The expert should review the case and testify that you have sufficient grounds to claim malpractice. Section 766.102 of the Florida Statutes defines the requisite qualities of an expert witness.
In medical malpractice cases, the jury looks at a concept called ‘standard of care.’ This is basically the acceptable level of skill, treatment and care in a given situation. For a standard of care to be acceptable, it must be accepted as adequate by other similar healthcare providers. It is against this standard that your malpractice claim against a doctor is measured.
Expert witnesses play a key role in helping a jury decide whether or not the standard of care was observed. To best articulate arguments about this, witnesses are required to belong to the same area of expertise as the defendant. This is also stipulated in the requirements for being a medical expert as per Florida state law.
Qualification Requirements For Expert Witnesses
As per the law, expert witnesses in a medical malpractice case must meet these requirements:
- The witness must belong to the same specialty or area of expertise as the defendant. For instance, if the case is against a heart surgeon, the witness must also be a cardiovascular specialist.
- The witness must have sufficient recent professional practice and expertise in the clinical practice area. Professional work as a healthcare provider or as an instructor of medical students may qualify as suitable recent experience. If the witness has been a part of a clinical research program in recent years, that may also qualify as work experience.
How Can A Medical Malpractice Lawyer In Florida Help You?
The legal requirements for an expert witness in a medical malpractice case are listed above. However, it is not enough that a witness meets the legal requirements. In a court of law, the witness will present the facts of the case and argue for your malpractice claim. This means that the witness must be articulate, persuasive and expert enough to persuade a jury. If your witness is not effective, the defendant’s witness will sway the jury the other way.
This is why you can’t seek the testimony or the opinion of just about any expert. Medical malpractice attorneys routinely deal with cases involving negligence of doctors or healthcare providers. A good attorney knows medical experts and witnesses who know how to argue a case. The attorney can help you find the right witnesses who will add value to your case and provide an effective testimony. With such help and backed by suitable expert witnesses, you will have far better odds of winning your case.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Lawyer In Florida
The medical malpractice law is fairly complicated. You must meet strict requirements before you can file a malpractice claim. As stated above, soliciting opinion of an expert is often a part of the requirements. However, hiring an expert witness is not easy or cheap. This is why you must consider the help of a medical malpractice lawyer in Florida.
Here at Burnetti, P.A., we understand that being a victim of medical malpractice can be quite stressing. This is why we handle the most daunting aspects of the malpractice case for you. You can leave it up to us to find you a suitable expert witness that will support your case effectively. We also strive to meet all requirements and present a strong case without breaking your bank. You can reach us anytime for a free consultation session to discuss your medical malpractice case. Our attorneys will provide you free guidance and advice whether or not you choose to hire us.