Mistakes in Conducting an Expert Witness Search
The right expert witness can be an invaluable asset to your case. Many claims, such as medical malpractice, require certification from a qualified expert just to survive a motion to dismiss. In other cases, having the right expert on your side can mean the difference between persuading the jury or losing the case entirely. To ensure you can prove or defend against all relevant elements, and to make the strongest arguments regarding damages, causation, negligence, and other issues, you need a qualified, professional, and convincing expert witness.
The first step in the process of using an expert witness is finding the right expert witness for your matter. Below, we discuss some of the pitfalls to avoid when looking for an expert to retain. If you have any questions, or if you would benefit from a seasoned, qualified professional medical expert, call a knowledgeable medical expert witness at Neurosurgery MedLegal Services today.
Waiting Too Long to Start Your Expert Search
Finding a good expert witness takes time. There are different databases to consult, colleagues to check with, and other options for identifying potential candidates. Once you identify a few options, you need time to vet their credentials, conduct interviews, and ensure they’re a good fit for your case. After that, your expert will need sufficient time to review the case materials, conduct their research and/or analysis, and draft their report. Your expert’s investigation may even yield new areas of inquiry that require other specialized expert witnesses to contribute.
Do not wait to consult with an expert witness. Talk to a seasoned expert early to help you prepare the case before even filing. Once the case is underway, make sure you are keeping an eye out for experts who might be necessary to prove the various elements of your claim. You do yourself a disservice–and may even open yourself up to malpractice claims–if you put off finding your expert witness until the last minute.
Ignoring the Expert’s Utility Outside of Testimony
Preparing a persuasive expert report and testifying in court are important expert witness duties, but that is not the extent of your expert’s utility. An expert in the subject matter pertaining to your case can be of value as early as the investigatory period, helping you understand the subject matter at issue and identifying what claims can actually be brought.
A knowledgeable medical professional, for example, can review the records at issue to determine whether and how malpractice might have taken place. Then can identify areas of additional inquiry, avenues to pursue, other evidence to seek out, and even additional areas where other specialized expertise may be necessary. Get the most out of your expert witness in order to provide the best service to your client and enhance your chances of maximum recovery.
Using the Same Expert Too Much
Many attorneys look to the same expert witness, or the same pool of experts, for each new case. It makes sense–you’ve found someone trustworthy and effective, someone on whom you can rely–but it could also cause issues with your case. If you always use the same expert, the judge or jury might question that expert’s objectivity. If the expert is seen as biased toward whatever case you choose to bring, they could lose credibility, and they might even be disqualified.
Taking Shortcuts in Your Expert Witness Search
Finding a good expert for your case requires your time and attention. It’s not enough to rely on simple online databases, which may not fully vet their proposed witnesses. Nor is it a good idea to delegate the task to an employee who does not have a complete understanding of the case, the underlying facts, and the issues at stake; you need someone with full understanding who can search for an expert with experience and knowledge tailored to the matter at bar. You might even want to talk to an expert witness you already trust to recommend other professionals in the relevant field. Conduct a thorough search, and make sure you properly vet any potential witnesses before retaining their services.
If you need a passionate, persuasive, and effective expert witness in a personal injury, medical malpractice, or product liability case, contact the offices of Neurosurgery MedLegal Services, LLC, at 866-659-8051.