Your Medical Malpractice Case: The Expert Witness

Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to bring to a successful conclusion because the facts of such cases often involve technical information that can be hard for a jury to understand. For this reason, expert witnesses are a key component of almost every medical malpractice lawsuit. The following article takes a closer look at medical expert witnesses and why medical malpractice attorneys rely on them in these types of cases.

What They Do

Expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases help the judge and jury gain a better understanding of your lawsuit and will explain why the defendant in your case was negligent. Typical expert witnesses in a medical malpractice case will have years of experience giving this type of testimony and will know how to present the details of your case in the most favorable light. They they will avoid using any medical or scientific jargon that might confuse the jury or judge.


Your expert witness will need certain qualifications to testify on your behalf. Federal Rules of Evidence require that the witness have the skill, knowledge, experience, training, or education that will assist the judge and jury in understanding your case. In addition to these federal regulations, state laws will also have certain requirement for medical experts.

For instance, many states require that a witness have a license to practice in the state in which they are giving testimony. State law may also demand that the expert witness has training in the same medical field as the defendant in the case.


In many states, engaging an expert witness is not optional. In these states, you will generally need a medical expert to testify that your case is valid before it can proceed. The medical expert in these situations will need to sign off on a document called an "Affidavit of Merit.

As a practical matter, you will almost always need an expert witness regardless of your state laws. One possible exception does exist, however. In a few instances, negligence on the part of the defendant is so obvious that an expert witness may not be required. For example, if a surgeon leaves a sponge in a patient, then no witness is needed because the negligent act is apparent to anyone.

When you decide to a pursue your medical malpractice suit, you will not only need an expert witness, but also the best legal advice available. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer in your city for more information about this important subject.