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Do I Need an Expert Witness for my Medical Malpractice Claim?

Posted by David Nemeroff | Nov 01, 2013 | 0 Comments

Almost all medical malpractice lawsuits require testimony from an expert witness. this is because the facts necessary to prove your claim are typically too complex for any one who is not a medical professional to determine whether or not a doctor can be held liable for an injury. Additionally, without this testimony, a judge may simply dismiss the case. Courts have come to determine that the technical information required to prove your claim are too complicated for a jury to learn without help. As a matter of fact, in Illinois, the Code of Civil Procedure requires our firm to hire a medical expert before a lawsuit can be filed.

The medical expert witness in your case will address two questions that are central to any medical malpractice claim:

  • Did your doctor follow the standard of care that any reasonable doctor under similar circumstances would have?
  • Did your doctor's failure to adhere to this standard of care cause your injury?

When loving standard of care, an expert witness will testify as to what a normal, competent doctor would have done under similar circumstances. The expert witness will also give an opinion as to whether he or she believes the doctor being sued lived up to that standard of care. It is important to note that the jury does not have to take the opinion of the expert witness as the final word in their decision.

The expert witness must also testify about whether or not the doctor's failure to live up to the standard of care required caused your injury. There are many factors to consider, and it is possible that even if there was incompetence involved, it may not have directly led to your injury. The expert has to explain to the jury the how likely it was that the doctor's incompetence caused your injury.

Both sides of a medical malpractice lawsuit are required to use expert witnesses in order to prove their claims. However, sometimes it may not be necessary to retain a medical expert witnesses. An expert witness may not be required if only the doctor or medical professionals involved could have had control over whatever caused your injury. An example of this scenario is the incidence of a surgeon leaving a surgical sponge inside of a patient. Another situation where a medical expert witness may not be necessary is when your injury could only have been caused by a doctor's failure to live up to the normal standard of care.

However, you should never assume that your claim does not need an expert witness because it seems obvious that the doctor was at fault. Nemeroff Law Offices has the resources to hire medical expert witnesses in order to help us prove your medical malpractice claim. For more information regarding expert witness testimony, contact a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer from Nemeroff Law Offices – 312.629.8800.

About the Author

David Nemeroff

In January 2012, David Nemeroff was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the entire state of Illinois (out of 83,000 lawyers) by Super Lawyers Magazine...

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