Posted by Richard Shallcross

Why Would You Need an Expert?

Because of the complexity of the subject matter of medical malpractice cases, it is generally held that the plaintiff must rely on expert testimony to support causation. Most medical issues are not within the common knowledge of the plaintiff or the jury, so an expert’s testimony can help the jury understand the applicable standard of care, whether the defendant provider failed to meet that standard, causation and damages. Medical malpractice cases often come down to a “battle of the experts” between the plaintiff’s expert and the defendant’s expert, who each offer opinions on the plaintiff’s underlying condition, defendant’s actions, whether they were in line with the standard of care and whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In some cases, such as where the result of the medical treatment or surgery is so obvious that a layperson can understand it, an expert may not be necessary.

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