When a medical malpractice lawsuit goes to trial, lawyers sometimes bring in expert or specific doctors to testify in court hoping that the testimony will make their case stronger. It is essential in these circumstances to choose the right kind of medical expert to testify on your behalf, because a lot hinges on these 'expert' testimonies and a wrong move can turn the case right around on its head.
Make The Jury Like Your Witness
So what do you need to know before hiring a medical expert for your trial? The first thing to keep in mind is that the jury is not aware of who the expert is and why they should rely so much on his testimony. Your first task is to convince the jury of the medical expert's credentials. So you need to ensure that your man comes across as a shining example of the American education system when you put him on the stand to testify. Your 'expert' needs to be a Board certified practitioner with years of experience on his impressive resume. He also needs to belong to the same field of medicine which the lawsuit addresses.
You would need to do your homework and figure out in the pre-trial process if there is any chink in your expert's armor that can bring down his credibility in front of the jury. Has he failed any classes in medical school? Is he fresh from a residency and does he know enough to hold his own against the opposition's more experienced experts? Has he any proverbial skeletons in the closet that can be used to discredit his testimony in court? You need to be aware of all such shortcomings, because the opposition will use these same points to make sure the jury does not see your medical expert as a credible witness in the trial.
Know Your Expert
Apart from establishing your medical witness' academic and professional credentials, you also need to be aware of his background as a trial witness. For instance, in a medical malpractice case in Washington State involving a cardiologist who lost a patient to a heart attack, a medical expert was called up by the prosecution from the East Coast. The doctor had Ivy League credentials, but he was unaware of some recent developments in nuclear cardiac stress imaging that weakened his testimony.
However, even worse, was his admission that he had testified in 35 different states in multiple lawsuits as an expert medical witness, and had on most accounts testified for the plaintiff only? An expert witness with such dubious history can be discredited very easily in court, even if he has a string of achievements to his name.
At the end of the case it is up to the jury to decide how much weight they would like to give to the testimony of each expert medical witness who gets on the stand. So it is very important that you choose a medical expert and a medical malpractice attorney who can woo the jury and ensure a win for your client.