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Why a Medical Expert Is Crucial in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are some of the most complicated matters in the area of personal injury law. Bringing a successful case requires the plaintiff to establish that the care provided by a doctor or hospital fell below a reasonable standard and that the plaintiff was injured as a result. It is generally not possible to meet this burden without the use of an expert witness.

The reason expert witnesses are necessary is that they can testify as to what standard of care applies and whether that standard was breached. Non-experts, known as “lay witnesses,” will not be permitted to offer such testimony.

The court will consider several factors when determining whether a witness should be deemed an expert. Under Oklahoma law, two of the factors for an expert who will testify in relation to standards of medical care are:

  1. Whether the individual is licensed to practice medicine or has other “substantial training or experience” in an area of health relevant to the claim
  2. Whether the individual is actively practicing or has retired from practicing in an area of healthcare services relevant to the claim. In other words, a medical practitioner whose experience is in a wholly unrelated field is unlikely to be deemed an expert in a medical malpractice action

Furthermore, “professional experts” who have made their living testifying in Court, as opposed to practicing medicine, are also unlikely to be accepted as expert witnesses.

In order to testify about the care the plaintiff received in a medical malpractice case, the expert will have to review all of the plaintiff’s records. At trial, the expert will state the correct treatment that should be given to a patient in the same circumstances. They will then point out how the care that the plaintiff received deviated from that standard. In some instances, such as a doctor amputating the wrong limb, the malpractice will be easily spotted. In many instances, however, the expert will be able to explain medical minutia to the jury in a way that helps them understand that errors definitively occurred. Establishing liability against a doctor or hospital without persuasive expert testimony is virtually impossible.

Lindsey Law Firm, P.C., is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma and represents those who have been injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 918-587-0097 to schedule an initial consultation where we discuss your matter.

Office Location
  • Tulsa Office
    1612 S Denver Ave.
    Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
    Phone: 918-587-0097
    Fax: 918-587-3763
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