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The Importance of an Expert Witness in a Medical Malpractice Case


Even the rich and famous can fall victim to medical malpractice. In 1998, Saturday Night Live alumnus Dana Carvey went in for double bypass surgery with the hope of preserving his life. It wasn’t until two months later that Carvey received the news that the wrong arteries were bypassed. Carvey’s clogged arteries were no better than they were two months before when he went into surgery to have them cleared.

The doctor believed this to be an honest mistake. Carvey filed a $7.5 million lawsuit.

With a doctor going up against an actor, it would be hard to prove that the incident was more than an “honest mistake.” So how does someone without any medical experience prove that they’ve fallen victim to medical malpractice when their doctor disagrees?

Almost all medical malpractice cases require a medical expert for this very reason. Many of the facts and terminology in these cases are much too complicated for the average person to wrap their head around. An expert witness can look at the evidence and use their credibility to support the victim’s version of events.

However, if you have never been involved in a medical malpractice case, you may have many questions about what an expert medical witness is, and what role she will play in your case.

What Is a Medical Expert Witness?


A medical expert witness would be a physician who is qualified in her field and therefore asked to testify in a case on a particular medical error. For example, in the case above, the court would likely bring in a physician with a lot of cardiothoracic experience and likely one who has done multiple bypass surgeries herself to determine whether this could be consider neglect and malpractice.

How Soon Do You Need an Expert Witness?


An expert witness will need to be chosen and provided before the trial starts. If this deadline is not adhered to, then the courts will likely rule in favor of the other side before the trial even begins.

Who Is Qualified?


Typically, a medical malpractice case will deal with a specialized medical field, and only a physician from that field would qualify. For example, in Carvey’s case above, you would not want a neurosurgeon as an expert witness for a case based around the heart.

Is an Expert Witness Always Necessary?


While many medical malpractice cases can be very complicated, sometimes you get a case so obvious that an expert witness is not necessary. However, it’s best not to make that decision yourself. A medical malpractice attorney can look over your case and advise you on whether or not an expert witness will bolster your case.

Help from an Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice cases are tedious, and choosing an expert witness is only a small part of it. The whole process is something you should never have to handle alone. Call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free consultation, and let our experienced medical malpractice lawyers fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.