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Importance of Presenting the Proper Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case

In a medical malpractice case, the doctor is often asked the question, whether he knows what is the expected standard of care in treating the particular medical issue.

A Practicing Medical Expert has More Credibility

It is vital that when you bring in a medical expert in a medical malpractice case in the state of New York, the doctor should not only be familiar with the standard of care, but also should be a practicing physician having experience in performing such type of procedures or treatments on a daily basis. Why is this essential?

If your expert witness is not practicing doctor, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Maybe the doctor has retired and he is coming in explaining what he used to do years ago. This can be a problem, even if the doctor is well qualified to talk about your particular problem.

The defense will present an expert who is going to come in and say that he is practicing this particular specialty every single day. He does surgery few days of the week and he performs this treatment almost every day. Now, this will lend greater credibility to this expert who says I am a practicing physician, this is what I do all the time, and I am very familiar with the standard of care, since I apply it every day.

You could have a retired doctor or somebody who is inexperienced talk about the standard of care, based upon what they used to do, or based upon what is written in the medical literature. However, looking at it from a standpoint of the jury's viewpoint, the jury will definitely give more credibility to a doctor who is actively in the trenches, and is familiar with what is going on with the standard of care today, and practices this on an everyday basis.

The Medical Expert should be of the Same Field

There have been instances where an expert has been called in that are unrelated to the type of doctor, against whom you are bringing a lawsuit. For instance, you are bringing a lawsuit against an orthopedist, and someone brings in a general intern or primary care doctor to testify. Then can this doctor testify about the orthopedist and the standard of care in that field? The reality is that this is possible in New York.

However, again, from a credibility standpoint, you would want to have the same medical expert to come in and discuss what the defendant doctor did or did not do. Such an expert will be able to explain to the jury that he handles these types of procedures and treatments on an everyday basis. He can further explain to the jury that this is what he does in his own practice, and therefore he is very familiar with the standards of care.

The Right Witness to have on Your Side

Presenting the accepted standard of medical care to the jury is pivotal in a medical malpractice case, and because of its violation, you have filed the lawsuit. Therefore, it is crucial to present an expert witness who is an experienced practicing doctor having the same specialty.

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