What Qualities a Medical Expert Witness Should Have
Evidence during a criminal trial can help exonerate a defendant or send him away for life. In civil litigation, it can help a person who had been injured to obtain money for medical bills. Conversely, the medical expert can also aid a person who is being unfairly targeted by greedy plaintiffs and reveal them as charlatans.
How do they do this?
By giving detailed and documented testimony that can lay a foundation that leads to acquittal or unequivocal guilt. In some cases, strong reasonable doubt can be created on the basis of this testimony alone.
Since a medical expert witness can be an essential ally for either the prosecution or the defense, the selection of this expert is a crucial decision.
So, what should an attorney or defendant in a criminal trial look for when obtaining a medical expert for their court case?
Years or verifiable experience
One of the more important traits of a medical or dental expert witness is their experience in the field. Experience with giving trial testimony is important as well, but may not be necessary if the person is an emerging talent in their particular profession.
Experience is also important because it often indicates that the person is extremely knowledgeable about the topic at hand.
A brilliant reputation in the field
Reputation can be just as important as experience and in fact their relevance may be about equal. A medical examiner or dental expert witness with years in the field who is ill regarded or known as a crack pot will not help your case, in fact, it could seriously hurt it.
The best medical expert witness is one that is the go to person when it comes to qualified medical opinions. These people will be the forerunners of their chosen profession and most likely have substantial backing for their claims. They will be the kind of individuals articles are written about who are asked to speak at seminars and conferences due to their grasp of topic.
Why is that relevant?
Jurors are usually more confident in the opinions of doctors and pathologists who are well respected by others in their area of expertise. This fact will usually mean that the person knows their stuff and will more often than not correctly interpret medical data, lessening the chance of error. This in turn makes jurors feel more assured about their final verdict.
State of the art assessment technology and techniques
A quality medical expert is well versed on the technological advances in the medical arena. For example a dental expert witness called a forensic odontologist would have access to hands on tools as well as computer software that helps back up their analysis. This combination makes jurors feel a bit more secure when looking over the evidence.
Ability to explain complex procedures in layman's terms
The ability of a medical expert witness or a dental expert witness to talk in simple terms cannot be underestimated. One high profile case that was later appealed and won was originally lost due to the inability of the medical expert witness to connect with jurors.
An authority in medical sciences who can't engage jurors will lose them. This will spell nothing but trouble for the lawyer who utilizes such a person. A medical professional is an undeniable asset in the court of law. Picking wisely can make or break your case.
Do your homework prior to obtaining this person's in person testimony. If the expert provides a statement, be sure to show it to a few more experts in the field for a second opinion.
Such diligence will potentially impress the people who have the come up with a verdict in your case, so in the end, the hard work will pay for itself.