How Do You Choose An Expert Witness?
Whether you are a plaintiff’s attorney bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit or an insurance company trying to avoid a large payout, it is vital that you have an experienced, qualified, and effective expert in your corner. Picking a good expert can mean the difference between a massive payout and your whole case falling apart. Read on for a few criteria to use in evaluating a potential expert witness for your matter, and contact a seasoned medical expert with any additional questions.
First and foremost, you need to retain an expert with the education, experience, and any professional certifications necessary to render them an expert in the matter. An impressive curriculum vitae might mean that the jury will take your expert more seriously than the opposing party’s. Additionally, the more specific the expert’s experience can be tailored to the matter at hand, the more convincing and effective their report and testimony will be. It is much more persuasive to hear the opinion of a professional who has performed the exact procedure or worked in the exact medical field at issue in the case than to hear from someone who is just a generally well-qualified medical professional.
Effect on the Jury
An expert is more than just their qualifications. If your case goes to trial, the expert will likely be in court, testifying on your behalf. Consider the appearance and demeanor of your putative expert. Consider how they answer questions, whether they seem credible, and even whether they seem likable. It is not enough to be correct; the expert must also convince the jury they are correct.
Dedication and Attention to Detail
Your expert report can be the difference between having a viable case and having no case, or between a decent victory and a massive jury verdict or favorable settlement. If, however, opposing counsel and their experts are able to poke holes in your expert’s report and testimony, your case can fall apart. Pick an expert who is detail-oriented, thorough, and who truly knows their stuff. You want your report and your testimony to be bullet-proof.
Ability to Handle Tough Questions
Your expert will have to do more than write a report. They will face tough questions at deposition as well as intense cross-examination at trial. You want an expert who not only knows their material but can withstand scrutiny and pressure from opposing counsel and continue to hold their own in a credible, effective manner.
Watch Out for Bias
If you are retaining an expert who tends to always testify for one side over the other, be wary. It is not necessarily disqualifying to hire an expert who exclusively works on behalf of plaintiffs or insurance companies, but you can be sure that opposing counsel will bring up that perceived bias during the case. If the technical issues involved are very controversial, you may want to avoid an expert who even has the appearance of a plaintiff or defense-side bias.
If you need a seasoned, scrupulous and effective expert witness in a medical malpractice, personal injury or product liability case nationwide, contact the offices of Neurosurgery Medlegal Services, LLC, at 866-659-8051.