The Role of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Cases

Many personal injury cases – and medical malpractice cases in particular – turn on the relative strength or weakness of the evidence given by each sides’ expert witnesses. These witnesses can explain complicated factual issues to the jury and the judge and discuss how you were injured. But how does an expert witness differ from any other kind of witness? And how do you find one?

In the article below, we’ll briefly answer these questions – as well as a few more.

What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is a special kind of witness in law. Usually a witness testifies about things they saw, heard, felt, or otherwise experienced. But an expert witness is a person with specialized knowledge, training, or experience who is allowed to testify about their opinion on an issue. So, for example, a medical malpractice expert might review a defendant doctor’s notes and provide the opinion that the doctor’s medical care was substandard.

Why are expert witnesses important in New Jersey Med Mal cases?

Medical malpractice expert witnesses are a particularly important kind of personal injury expert witness. One of the things you need to establish as a plaintiff is that the defendant practitioner breached their “duty of care” to you. In layman’s terms, this approximately means that the care you were provided was below a reasonable standard. Generally, the only way to do this is to have a medical expert review your file and truthfully testify that the care you received was substandard.

Types of expert witnesses

There are several different kinds of expert witnesses in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. They include medical experts, who testify about the aforementioned standard of care we discussed in the previous section. They also include life care planners, who can testify about how much it will cost to care for a person who has been injured by someone’s negligence (which is relevant for damages assessments). Vocational and economic experts can testify about the types of work an injured person can now do, as well as what they’d be able to earn after an incident, and how that compares to their earnings if the incident had not happened.

How to find an expert witness for your NJ case?

You will typically leave it to your lawyer to find an expert witness. Lawyers choose your experts based on their skills, qualifications, experience in their field, and experience testifying in court. Because a judge and jury will likely look very closely at your expert’s “bona fides” (qualifications), it’s important to pick a highly knowledgeable and skilled practitioner experienced in the field and subfields your case involves.

Need an Expert Witness in New Jersey? Call Mazie Slater

At Mazie Slater, we’re highly experienced with cases involving expert witnesses. We can help walk you through the process of filing a medical malpractice or other personal injury claim and offer free consultations to help familiarize you with your rights and the next steps you can take.