Do I Need an Expert Witness in My Medical Malpractice Case?

expert witness

Unlike other personal injury cases such as dog bites and car accidents, an expert witness is required in all medical malpractice actions.

In Michigan, an expert must review a case of alleged medical malpractice, certify that the case has merit, and testify in court and through a legal document called an “affidavit of merit” to prove that the defendant’s conduct failed to meet the standard of care.

If you or someone you love was a victim of medical negligence, there are numerous hurdles you must overcome to be fairly compensated for your injuries. This includes securing an expert to evaluate the case, write an Affidavit of Merit, and testify that the defendant was negligent.

At Muth Law, P.C., our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can review your case, locate an expert who will testify on your behalf, and represent you in court to seek compensation for your injuries.

What is an Expert Witness?

Medical malpractice cases involve complicated procedures and medical knowledge. An expert witness must explain these terms and procedures to the judge and jury so they can make an educated decision and a fair ruling in the case.

An expert witness will offer an opinion on the care provided. They will also help the jury understand and make sense of the factual testimony presented.

Unlike other witnesses, who testify to what they personally saw or heard, a medical expert witness is allowed to offer an opinion on whether a defendant provided appropriate care.

An expert witness must also testify to establish the standard of care and how the defendant breached it. To bring a medical malpractice case, a medical malpractice victim must provide expert testimony that proves:

  1. The applicable standard of care;
  2. How the defendant breached that standard; and
  3. How the breach caused the victim’s injuries

Who Can Provide Expert Witness Testimony?

Your lawyer must identify and locate a reputable expert who can review your case and offer an opinion about the cause and extent of your injuries.

To qualify as an expert, a professional must be licensed to practice and devote a majority of their professional time to the active clinical practice of medicine or to teaching at an accredited university. They must practice in the same or a similar specialty as the defendant. If the defendant is board certified, the expert must also be board certified.

Expert Witness Testimony and the Affidavit of Merit Requirement

Michigan requires that a medical malpractice victim include an Affidavit of Merit with a Complaint. The Affidavit of Merit must be signed by a medical professional who states that, in the expert’s professional opinion, the defendant was negligent and did not meet the applicable standard of care.

The Affidavit must identify the ways in which the defendant failed to meet the standard of care, actions the defendant should have taken to comply with the standard, and how the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries.

In many cases, the expert who wrote the Affidavit of merit will also testify at the trial.

Muth Law, P.C.: Vindicating Victims of Medical Negligence

At Muth Law, our lawyers have professional relationships with reliable medical experts throughout the state and across the country. We know how to select the right expert for your case and regularly work with experts who analyze potential cases of medical malpractice and offer testimony in depositions and at trial.

Choosing the right expert for a medical malpractice case is critical. When you file a claim for medical malpractice, you can be sure that the doctor or hospital who committed the malpractice will have their own experts who will testify that the defendant did nothing wrong. And in complex cases, the jury usually agrees with the side that has the most credible expert witness. To level the playing field, you need to work with a lawyer that will bring an impeccably qualified expert to testify on your behalf.

If you or someone you love was a victim of medical malpractice, or if you have questions about how we use experts in medical malpractice cases, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Muth Law today by calling 734-481-8800, emailing info@muthlawpc.com, or completing our online form. We proudly represent people throughout Michigan.

Categories: Medical Malpractice

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