What is an “Expert Witness” and why do I need one?
A: Expert witnesses are called to help the judge and jury understand the case. In the vast majority of medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will need an expert to prove that their physician acted negligently.
Expert testimony is offered regarding the “standard of care” required of the physician. The “standard of care” is what the reasonable physician would have done in the defendant’s case.
Often, the expert also will testify about the extent of damages caused by the defendant’s negligence.
However, there are some cases that are so obvious that expert testimony is not necessary. These cases are rare, but include instances where the surgeon leaves a sponge or other item inside the patient. This case might not require the use of an expert because the negligence in leaving the item in the patient is so obvious that the jury can easily understand the issues.
Expert witnesses can be expensive, but are required to prove the vast majority of medical malpractice cases.