Expert Witnesses, Legal Definitions, General Information News

Types of Expert Witnesses

Who can be an expert witness, and what are the types of expert witnesses? In some cases, it is wise to hire an expert witness to explain an idea to the judge or jury by presenting expert testimony.

Some situations in the court require the establishment of critical facts, allowing the court to make an informed verdict. Expert witnesses establish these facts and help the court understand specific issues in a case. Read on!

Types of Expert Witnesses

The court attends a wide range of cases and requires different experts to offer testimonies. Experts testify in medical malpractice, child custody battles, adoption proceedings, personal injury claims, forensic medicine, criminal law, products liability, and financial cases. Different types of expert witnesses are:

  • Medical Experts
  • Engineering Experts
  • Vocational Experts
  • Forensic Experts
  • Securities Experts
  • Financial Experts
  • Mental Health Experts
  • Parenting Experts

What is an Expert Witness in the Medical Field?

There are different types of expert witnesses required by the court of law to establish facts and present testimonies before the judge and jury to make a final decision. The question is: what is an expert witness in the medical field?

Medical expert includes physicians, doctors, physical therapists, surgeons, radiologists, nurse practitioners, or other trained professionals. A medical expert witness is a qualified person with many years of experience in medical malpractice, negligence, and personal injury cases.

These experts enlighten the judge and jury about the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, additional invasive procedures required, and whether the patient will ever recover. Some medical expert witnesses also present their testimonies before the court in criminal cases.

For instance, forensic experts are medical experts who can shed light on the injuries sustained by the victim in a criminal assault. Likewise, a medical expert, such as a forensic pathologist, can testify in court and present evidence on the time and cause of death in a homicide case.

Who can be an Expert Witness?

A person with detailed knowledge in a given area does not make him or her an expert witness. According to the state and federal rules of evidence, an expert witness is a person who offers an opinion in a legal matter.

Bear in mind that not all types of issues in a case are proper for expert opinions. The law requires the resolution of disputes over facts through testimonies from witnesses with experience and knowledge.

The court of law calls upon the expert witness to testify about issues in which the judge, jury, and factfinders are confused and require clarification. For example, a medical expert witness simplifies the technical, scientific, or medical knowledge to the judge or jury and help them understand the evidence.

According to the Federal Rule of Evidence 702, an expert witness is a person with technical, scientific, and specialized knowledge to help the trier of fact understand the case, examine the evidence, and determine specific facts in the issue. The Federal Rule of Evidence states:

  • Expert testimony is based on reliable facts and sufficient information
  • The testimony follows principles and methods of a particular field
  • The testimony is relevant to the case and applies to the facts

Likewise, the court considers different factors when determining whether the person qualifies as an expert witness. These factors include:  

  • Education in a particular field or discipline with a degree in specialization
  • Training in the field or on a specific case or issue, such as forensics, medical, or finance, etc.
  • Experience in research, including peer-reviewed journal articles and books
  • Years of experience in the field and with specific issues (for example, elder abuse)
  • Testimonial experience with a good track record

Medical Expert Witness Case Example

Different type of expert witnesses in the medical field are medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, toxic tort, criminal defense, addiction evaluation, sexual assault, elder abuse, and prisoner abuse. Here is an example of a medical malpractice case:

A 32 years old pregnant woman diagnosed with gestation diabetes entered into the labor stage at 34 weeks. The woman, “Sarah McGuire”, requested Cesarean Section (C-section) delivery. However, the nurse at the hospital ignored her request. During the delivery, the doctors found that the baby developed shoulder dystocia due to a subgaleal hemorrhage.

Sarah McGuire filed a lawsuit against the hospital to get compensation for the pain and suffering she has endured during pregnancy and after childbirth. She also wanted compensation for her baby’s suffering.

A medical expert witness reviewed Sarah’s risk profile, examined her case and prepared a testimony that showed that the gynecology nurse failed to follow the standard of care. The court rewarded Sarah a compensation of $5 million in damages.

Contact Legal Medical Consulting

Legal Medical Consulting is a reputable firm with different types of expert witnesses who have years of experience helping people get the compensation they deserve in medical malpractice and related cases. Contact us today!

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