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What happens when an Expert Witness Lies about Payment

A lie told by the expert witness on the stand can change the whole course of the case. In a medical malpractice case, the defense attorney puts an expert witness on the stand. This witness is an orthopedic doctor, who is brought in to testify on behalf of the defense. During the questioning, the defense lawyer asks the orthopedist whether he is being paid to come and give his expert testimony.

The doctor confirms he is being paid, and the lawyer asks him how much he was being compensated for his time for reviewing all the records and coming to the court to provide testimony. The doctor answers he is being paid five thousand dollars.

Attorney Proves the Expert Witness is Lying

The jury is obviously surprised at the huge amount the orthopedist is being paid to give his expert testimony. The plaintiff's lawyer then questions the doctor and asks to see the medical records that he has reviewed. When the lawyer opens the file, he sees an invoice that the orthopedist has sent to the defense attorney regarding his fees. The invoice states the time he has spent reviewing the records, and the anticipated time he would be spending in the court testifying.

However, the total amount mentioned in the invoice for all these services was ten thousand dollars. Just a moment ago, he had told the jury he was charging only five thousand, but here was his invoice for double that amount.

The plaintiff's lawyer then embarks on a line of questioning where he makes the doctor again agree to his given testimony that:

  • He was asked to review the medical records and give testimony on behalf of the defense
  • He was to be compensated for his services
  • He had made an invoice for five thousand dollars and was paid the amount before he came to court

The lawyer again asks all these questions in order to lock the doctor in, so that he does not have a chance to wiggle out of the testimony he has given. Now the lawyer holds up the invoice and asks whether it was prepared by the doctor and sent to the defense lawyer. The doctor agrees to have done so, and the lawyer presents the invoice into evidence.

The defense lawyer obviously starts objecting about the invoice being presented as evidence and starts giving legal reasons for the objection. The judge says that since it is the defense's witness, the plaintiff's lawyer has every right to look at the documents brought with him. The judge overrules the objection and admits the invoice as evidence.

Expert Witness Loses Credibility

The plaintiff's lawyer then shows the invoice to the jury, who are clearly able to see that the doctor had lied about the amount he had received. The credibility of the doctor was totally shot. The jury was able to see the drastic inconsistencies between his testimony of receiving five thousand dollars and the fact that he had actually received double the amount. This lie turned the course of the case, and the doctor was no longer seen as credible by the jury.

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