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How Can an Expert Witness Help in a Medical Malpractice Case?

March 15, 2024Articles

There are two types of witnesses in most court cases—eyewitnesses and expert witnesses. Both are invaluable in proving a case, but expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases are especially important. Many medical malpractice cases are resolved through settlements, but when a case goes to court, jury members who typically are not doctors have the task of discerning the fine nuances of a medical case to make critical decisions for those involved. The expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases are doctors who specialize in the area of medicine the case involves. They help interpret medical information so the jury has the necessary tools to make an informed decision in the case. Expert witnesses have specialized knowledge in the area of their testimony, something that’s often the key to proving medical malpractice occurred in a case.

Expert Witnesses Interpret Test Results in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical experts are necessary in malpractice claims to interpret medical information in court. They examine the injury victim’s medical records from before, during, and after the alleged malpractice took place and help to put the case into terms the judge and jury can understand so they have the knowledge they need for a verdict. In most cases, expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases are board-certified doctors with advanced degrees, many years of clinical experience, and renowned publications and/or experience in medical education.

A Medical Expert Determines If the Provider Upheld the Medical Community’s Standard of Care


One of the most important tenets of a medical malpractice case in New Haven is proving that the patient’s treatment deviated from the standards of practice accepted by the medical community. Once a professional doctor/patient relationship exists, the doctor or other provider has a special duty of care toward the patient. All medical professionals have a duty to treat a patient the way another reasonable doctor would under the same circumstances, or at the standard of care accepted by the medical community for a patient with the symptoms, injury, or condition the patient presents with. The medical expert consulted or testifying in the case typically reviews the medical report and determines whether or not the doctor followed proper protocol in treating the patient or if negligence or a medical mistake occurred.

Medical Experts Help Explain the Impacts of the Malpractice Injury on the Patient’s Life

Another critical role for medical expert witnesses in malpractice cases is to share their knowledgeable opinion on the effects of the malpractice on the victim’s life. The impacts of medical malpractice are serious, causing both physical and financial harm to victims. Depending on the type of injury, victims could suffer advanced disease, the loss of a healthy body part, second surgeries, scarring, pain and suffering, disability, or even death. A doctor who is an expert in the field of medicine associated with the injury helps the judge and jury understand the full consequences of the malpractice on the victim’s life. These consequences are known as “damages” in a personal injury claim.

A Medical Expert Is the Key to Proving Future Expenses Related to the Injury

Not only do medical experts clarify the damages the victim of medical malpractice has suffered, but they also help to anticipate the future economic and non-economic impacts the malpractice will have on the victim’s life. Doctors and vocational specialists testify to the ongoing implications of the injury such as a need for further treatment, an inability to return to work right away—or at all—and the amount of pain the victim is likely to suffer before reaching their maximum medical improvement.