Using Expert Witnesses to Help Prove Negligence in Medical Malpractice Cases
A medical malpractice case needs an expert witness to make a credible explanation of what went wrong. A person who is not a medical professional will not be qualified to make observations on medical operations. Only a qualified medical professional can claim that the defendant was negligent in his job, which resulted in an injury.
The plaintiff has the burden to prove that there was negligence on the part of his healthcare provider. A medical injury alone is not enough to prove that there was negligence. The plaintiff must have a testimony from a medical expert to prove that a prudent doctor would not have done the same thing.
What are the Qualifications of a Medical Expert?
The court will judge the qualification of a medical expert witness according to the following as dictated by the Michigan Legislature:
- The educational background of the witness
- The professional training of the witness
- The area of specialization of the witness
- The length of time the witness is engaged in actively performing his medical profession in clinical practice
- If he is in the academe, how long has the witness been engaged in the instruction of his medical expertise
- The relevance of the witness’ testimony
Benefits of Having the Testimony of a Medical Expert
Any person cannot give an expert medical testimony unless he is a licensed medical practitioner. A qualified medical expert’s testimony can significantly help the plaintiff’s case.
- It helps the juries understand complicated medical information.
- It will level the playing field, especially if the defendant has a medical expert witness.
- It adds credibility to the claim of the plaintiff.
In some cases, a trial can be avoided when a medical expert witness presents his testimony. It gives the defendant a more definite sense of the weight of the case and the evidence presented.
How a Medical Expert Testimony Can Prove Medical Negligence
Medical testimony can help prove medical negligence through the following elements:
- Standard of care given to the plaintiff
Legally, all doctors are bound to give every patient competent medical care. This means that your doctor should give you the same standard of care that other doctors will give in the same situation. It’s the first thing that the plaintiff must establish in a medical malpractice claim. His health care provider owed it to him to give medical care that is medically accepted and not substandard.
Medical expert testimony can include what a competent and experienced doctor would have done in the same situation and circumstances. The expert witness can present what the medical issues meant and the necessary tests and procedures that would have been performed.
- Breach in the standard of care
The second element that a plaintiff must establish in malpractice claims is that the doctor breached the accepted standard of care. The medical expert witness can elaborate and explain how the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff more harm and injuries. He can also point out missed diagnostic tests, which led to misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
Cases Where a Medical Expert is Required
Most medical practice cases need the help of an expert witness to prove negligence and damages. These types of cases are typically highly contested and complex. Here are a short list of medical practice cases that will require the hiring of a medical expert:
- Cauda Equina
- Cancer Misdiagnosis
- Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
- Surgical Errors
- Radiology Errors
Cases Where a Medical Expert Witness is Not Needed
There are cases when a medical expert witness is not necessary to build a case. These cases include situations where the medical error was too obvious. Often, in these cases, the jury does not need expert explanation to understand the case.
Two elements must be present so that medical expert testimony is not needed.
- The doctor had complete control of the item or situation, which caused injury and harm to the patient.
- The resulting injury only happened because the doctor failed to provide normal standard of care.
Were You or a Loved One Injured because of Medical Negligence? Call The Clark Law Office Now!
If you or a loved one was injured due to your healthcare provider’s negligence, contact a Michigan personal injury lawyer right away. An expert medical malpractice lawyer can help you identify what you need to support and strengthen your negligence claim.
We at The Clark Law Office are dedicated to assisting each victim get the justice that they seek. We have helped thousands get compensated justly and properly. Our lawyers will be with your every step of the way. Call us now for a free consultation.