Finding and Vetting a Qualified Expert Witness
The outcome of many medical malpractice, product liability, and tort lawsuits can hinge on the quality of testimony offered by an expert witness. The importance of expert witness testimony makes it crucial to select the right expert when preparing for trial or summary judgment. Countless individuals are holding themselves out as a leading source on any topic you could dream up, which can make it a challenge to know who to choose for such a pivotal role in your case. Below, you’ll find several tips on choosing a qualified expert for your case. Contact a seasoned expert with any additional questions.
- Know what issues you’ll need your expert to cover before beginning your search: Finding the right expert means that you’ll need to understand the topics for which the witness will be providing their expert opinion. Conduct as much preliminary research on the case as you can before beginning a search for an expert, since a more nuanced understanding of the facts of your case may affect the type of expert you need.
- Don’t rely exclusively on large expert databases: When you’re in a hurry to prepare for trial, you may feel tempted to trust one of many large databases of experts to provide options on your chosen subject matter. However, these databases may not be entirely reliable. In some cases, it is the expert who has submitted themselves to the database, rather than a third party that has selected the experts based on reputation and skill. In other cases, someone described as an expert on a broad subject may not have the specialized knowledge needed for your case.
- Choose an expert with both the knowledge and skills you’ll need on the stand: Some cases require the deep technical knowledge of an academic actively working in the field, but these individuals may lack experience giving testimony or explaining esoteric concepts to a jury. While this expert may have impressive credentials, their inability to testify persuasively could result in a bored or confused jury that doesn’t understand the information being presented.
- Vet your expert thoroughly. Always investigate your expert’s credentials and contact their references, no matter how credible they seem. You’ll also need to make sure that the witness meets your jurisdiction’s legal requirements for expert witnesses, such as requirements that medical experts be active practitioners. By not thoroughly vetting your expert, you leave yourself vulnerable to embarrassing and potentially outcome-altering impeachment efforts by your opponent when your witness is on the stand.
If you need a skilled and seasoned expert witness in a medical malpractice case, contact the offices of Neurosurgery Medlegal Services, LLC, at 866-659-8051.