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Why are expert witnesses important to medical malpractice cases?

Pursuing a medical malpractice case can be extremely trying, particularly if you or a loved one are already suffering under the stress of traumatic injury or wrongful death. When it comes to discussing and proving your medical malpractice case, courts may rely on expert witnesses to provide testimony that can validate or negate your claims. But what are expert witnesses, and why do they matter?

Per the Connecticut Judicial Branch's Law Libraries, an expert witness is one whose depth of expertise and knowledge in a field qualifies them to offer influential opinions on a case, where normally cases would be decided based on facts alone. In the case of a medical malpractice case, your most likely expert witnesses are doctors - though if any medical equipment was involved in your malpractice issue, you may even hear testimony from equipment manufacturers or technicians.

When at times malpractice can be difficult to prove after the fact, expert witnesses can respond to hypothetical questions that present as many of the facts of the case that are available in order to ask if, in their opinion and based on their expertise, you have a valid claim for medical malpractice. Their opinion is not a final decision, whether they say yes or no, but their opinion can be taken under consideration by the judge trying the case. Expert witnesses can sway the outcome of a case, but not wholly decide it.

This blog post is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered actionable legal advice.

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