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How valuable is expert testimony in medical malpractice cases?

In order to succeed on a medical malpractice claim, a victim must prove four legal elements: the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, the defendant was negligent while providing that care, the victim was injured, and the legal cause of the injury was the negligent care. These elements must be proved by a preponderance of evidence.

Failure to diagnose a medical condition that results in someone's death is perhaps the most compelling case of medical malpractice. Indiana residents may be surprised to hear that myocardial infarction and aortic dissection are examples of conditions that are far too often misdiagnosed or missed entirely. However, even if a doctor can show that they considered these options but then took steps to make a diagnosis, it may be enough for him to succeed even if the diagnosis was missed.

At this juncture, expert witnesses play an important role. An expert witness provides valuable testimony about whether the medical professional took the steps a reasonable provider would have taken in similar or the same circumstances. Since it is difficult for ordinary people to make a judgment about what steps a medical professional should have taken to meet the standard of care, an expert can help the trier of fact make a better determination.

Expert witnesses must be qualified by skill, knowledge, experience, or education, and the judge must first determine if their testimony will help determine the matter at issue. The court considers a number of factors in making this decision, including if the scientific evidence has been tested and subjected to peer review and evaluation, if the potential rate of error is known or not, and if the evidence is generally accepted in the appropriate scientific community,

Someone injured by a medical provider's negligence is already trying to come to terms with their physical limitations. Adding the thought of gathering evidence or persuading experts to testify can be daunting. For this reason alone, it may be beneficial to have an experienced attorney by one's side, as they know the tactics that can be employed to secure expert testimony and use it to one's advantage.

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The Law Office of Nick Stein

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New Albany, IN 47150

Phone: 812-590-8664
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