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What Is a Medical Expert Witness and What Do They Do?

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Medical malpractice is the third-biggest cause of death in the USA today.`

While medical practitioners are the figures in whom we put our trust when something goes amiss with our health, they’re not infallible. Mistakes happen, and they can have hugely damaging consequences for patients.

However, proving fault can be very difficult in these cases when you go to court. This is where a medical expert witness comes in.

Read on to learn more about what a medical expert witness is and how they can help you.

What Is a Medical Expert Witness?

A medical expert witness is a medical professional who offers their opinion on an illness or injury that is crucial to a court case. For instance, if a client is trying to prove that a doctor negligently severed their blood vessel during surgery, causing damage, a medical expert witness can confirm that this is the case.

Medical expert witnesses act independently of legal counsel. They explain all relevant medical issues to the court, based on questions asked of them by each side.

What Can a Medical Expert Witness Do for Me?

As a lawyer, there are a few different things you could ask a medical expert witness to comment on. These might be relevant in a court hearing or at other stages in the settlement of a case.

Standard of Care

When you’re attempting to mount a case of medical malpractice, the first thing you’ll need to prove is that the doctor failed to meet the standard of care they owed to the patient.

The standard of care varies depending on the procedure carried out. A medical expert witness can advise on the relevant standard and whether or not it was breached.


Even if a doctor or nurse fails to meet the relevant standard of care, they won’t be liable for medical malpractice unless there was a causal link between their failure and an injury suffered by your client.

This is where the technical expertise of a medical expert witness comes in. There may be conflicting evidence as to the true cause of an injury that only a health professional will be able to advise on.

Certification of Merit

Some states may require a certification of merit from an independent medical practitioner before a malpractice case reaches the courtroom.

A medical expert witness can do this by signing an affidavit.

Getting the Right People on Your Team

As a medical malpractice attorney, you’ll know how difficult it can be to prove certain things to a judge. Factors pertaining to medical issues can be especially tricky, as the technical information involved may be very precise.

This is why you need a medical expert witness on your side in a medical malpractice case.

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