What is Expert Testimony in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Successful medical malpractice litigation depends on proving that a healthcare provider was negligent and that their negligent behavior caused actual harm to a patient. Negligence, in the realm of medical malpractice, means a physician’s conduct fell below an acceptable standard of medical care.
To prove these central elements, the plaintiff’s legal team must call medical experts to provide testimony that the defendant did not uphold the standard of care and that failure did, in fact, cause harm to a patient. The experts will tell the court exactly what the breach of standard of care was and how it impacted the patient.
This expert testimony explains to a judge and jury what a reasonable doctor in the defendant’s position should have done under the circumstances. For example, if a diagnostic error was made while reading a patient’s CT scan, the expert would explain how a reasonable doctor should have correctly diagnosed the patient’s condition.
The defense will also most likely call expert witnesses to rebut any of the plaintiff’s claims.
In Maryland, the plaintiff must file a “certificate of merit” before the court will even see a case. This is a document signed by a medical expert in the same or similar field as the defendant that shows that the defendant breached the standard of care and caused injury to the plaintiff. This measure is in place to prevent frivolous lawsuits from being filed.
Who can Act as a Medical Expert?
Under Maryland law, the testifying expert must practice in the relevant area of medicine. If the defendant in a claim is a neurosurgeon, the certifying expert must also practice in that field of medicine. The expert must have clinical experience, must have provided consultation relating to clinical practice, and/or taught medicine in the defendant’s field within five years of the negligent act in question.
The rules in Washington D.C. are a bit more open-opened. The general requirement is that the expert must have expertise, education, and skill in the defendant’s field in order to testify.
Schochor, Federico and Staton Builds a Strong Case on your Behalf
The law firm of Schochor, Federico and Staton, P.A. has developed strong relationships with medical experts in Maryland, Washington D.C., and across the country in our 30+ year history. We understand who to work with and how they can help build each case. Our Baltimore area malpractice attorneys are well versed in the state-specific laws governing medical malpractice litigation and can choose medical experts most suited for each individual claim.
If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of a medical malpractice, call our lawyers today at 410-234-1000 or fill out a contact form. You can visit us in our Baltimore or Washington D.C. office.