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Do I need a medical expert witness for my medical malpractice case?

Forensic medicine concept. Pathologist doctor holding hammer court as investigation of criminal law cases and civil law cases in some jurisdictions

Medical malpractice is a complex field of law that often necessitates the expertise of seasoned professionals. Not only can a medical expert help you plan, prepare and prove your case, but in over half the states in the country, medical malpractice claims must be first reviewed by a medical professional before a claim can be filed in civil court. Below we discuss both the legal requirements and practical necessities of using a medical expert witness in medical malpractice cases. For help with a medical malpractice case nationwide, reach out to Neurosurgery MedLegal Services to consult with a qualified and experienced medical expert witness.

Medical Expert Witness: A Legal Requirement in 28 States

Across the United States, many states legally necessitate the involvement of a medical expert witness to substantiate a medical malpractice case. Their involvement typically takes the form of a review of the facts and subsequent provision of an affidavit or certificate of merit. This document confirms that the claim has merit, allowing the case to move forward to court. In other words, the expert is providing a professional opinion that malpractice may have occurred based on the circumstances.

Florida, for instance, is one of several states that adheres to this requirement. According to Florida Statutes Section 766.203(2), a plaintiff, prior to filing an action for medical negligence, must corroborate their claim with a verified written medical expert opinion. The expert must be a health care provider in the same or similar field as the defendant, and they must confirm that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence.

Similarly, Michigan law (Michigan Compiled Laws Section 600.2912d) requires a medical affidavit of merit from a health professional who is in the same health profession as the defendant or a related profession that meets specific criteria.

In Maryland, too, under Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 3-2C-02, a certificate of a qualified expert is needed, affirming that the defendant healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care, which resulted in the alleged injury.

At present, over half of the states in the nation have some form of this requirement.

The Crucial Role of a Medical Expert Witness in Case Preparation

Beyond fulfilling a legal mandate, a medical expert witness plays a vital role in shaping the outcome of a malpractice case. This expert can help an attorney assess a case before taking it on, guide the attorney in understanding the medical issues involved, and prepare for discovery and trial.

A medical expert witness can be instrumental in proving malpractice. They offer insight into what the standard of care should have been, whether that standard was breached, and if the breach directly resulted in the patient’s harm. By demystifying complex medical terminologies, procedures, and standards, they provide compelling, objective evidence that can substantiate or refute allegations of malpractice in a compelling and persuasive manner for judges and juries.

Moreover, a medical expert witness can also be key in questioning and discrediting the other side’s expert witness. Given their in-depth knowledge and experience, they can critically analyze the opposing expert’s testimony, potentially identifying and exposing weaknesses, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies.

Medical Expert Witnesses: Critical in Every Medical Malpractice Case

Navigating a medical malpractice case can be an intricate process, and the assistance of a medical expert can prove invaluable throughout. At Neurosurgery MedLegal Services, we provide a professional, experienced, and credentialed medical expert witness to strengthen your malpractice case. Don’t let the complexity of medical malpractice cases overwhelm you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. Call 866-659-8051 for expert assistance with your medical malpractice case.

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