Expert testimony is required in nearly all medical malpractice cases. The role of the expert is to apply his or her knowledge to the complex issues involved in these cases. The expert explains why your health care provider was negligent in his or her practice.
Below, the Silver Spring medical malpractice lawyers of Goldberg Finnegan discuss medical experts and the role their testimony plays in medical malpractice cases. If you need help with your medical malpractice case, request a free, no obligation consultation today.
What is the Purpose of Expert Testimony?
There is a lot of technical information in medical cases that is very difficult for juries to understand. They need help understanding it so they can make a judgement about the case. That is why expert testimony is so important in these cases.
Medical expert testimony addresses two key elements of all medical malpractice cases: standard of care and if a failure to follow the standard of care caused injury to the patient.
- The standard of care is the type of care another competent doctor would have provided if he or she was in a situation similar to yours. The expert medical witness provides testimony on whether the medical provider met the standard of care when treating the patient.
- The expert also testifies as to whether the medical provider’s failure to provide the appropriate standard of care caused the patient to suffer injury.
Affidavit of Merit
In medical malpractice cases, some jurisdictions require an affidavit of merit to be signed by the expert witness before a medical malpractice claim can be brought to court.
In Maryland, the expert’s affidavit of merit must include the following:
- The location where the expert is licensed to practice medicine
- The expert’s opinion that the defendant did not uphold the standard of care while treating the plaintiff and this failure caused damages to the plaintiff
- The expert must not spend more than 20 percent of his or her professional work each year providing personal injury medical expert testimony
Who Is Qualified to Be a Medical Expert?
Generally, the medical expert must be a specialist in the same field as the doctor in question. Medical malpractice cases concerning general medicine allow for a broader range of doctors to serve as expert witnesses, as there are more medical professionals with the appropriate training and experience needed to weigh in on the technical medical information in the case.
In Maryland, the basic qualifications for a medical expert witness are:
- The expert must have clinical experience.
- The expert must have conducted a consultation pertaining to clinical practice.
- The expert must have taught the defendant’s medical specialty, or a related medical care field, or in the medical field that the defendant cared for or treated the patient – this requirement must have occurred within five years of the date the alleged medical malpractice took place.
- In most cases, the expert must hold board certification in an applicable area of medicine.
Get Help from our Experienced Lawyers Today
If you are a victim of medical malpractice, the licensed attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are prepared to discuss your situation in a free legal consultation. If you have a case, we are prepared to manage the legal process on your behalf. Including finding an expert witness and taking other steps to help validate your case.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today. There are no upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.