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Who Can Be An Expert Witness?

Who can be an expert witness? What is an expert witness legal definition? What is an example of an expert witness? These are the most common questions asked by attorneys, lawyers, victims, and defendants involved in a medical malpractice case. In today’s article, we will answer these questions. Read on!

What is an Expert Witness Legal Definition?

Many people in the legal community ask, “what is an expert witness legal definition?” According to the Federal Rule of Evidence 702, an expert witness is a qualified and licensed individual with specialized skill sets to analyze and prepare an expert testimony and present a professional opinion, helping the court understand the case’s factual evidence.

Who can be an expert witness?

The federal rules of evidence set rules and regulations about expert witnesses, depending on the case in a state or federal court. The Federal Rules of Evidence 702 states that an expert witness is a qualified person with knowledge, education, experience, training, and skills in a specialized field.

The U.S law requires the expert witness to prepare testimony on enough data and sufficient facts to help the judge and jury understand the case technicalities. Although non-expert witnesses can also testify about the court, expert witnesses present their professional opinions.

Their professional opinions allow the court to understand the case and make an informed decision. Examples of expert witnesses include forensic medicine specialists, vocational experts, medical experts, financial experts, etc.

Expert witnesses provide testimonies to the court and have a tremendous influence on the judge’s final decision. Who can be an expert witness? The Federal Rules of Evidence 702 states the following:

Qualifications

An expert witness must practice in a discipline or field relevant to the case. The witness must also have skills in a particular profession and possess specialized knowledge through education, training, and practical experience.

The expert knowledge is above the jury’s knowledge and expertise. Although the law does not require the expert witness to be the best in the discipline, it does need the expert to find relevant facts and prepare a solid testimony to help the court make a final decision.

Reliability

The Federal Rule of Evidence 702 states that testimonies presented by expert witnesses before the court must contain sufficient data and information based on facts. Likewise, the testimony must be according to the accepted principles and methods commonly used in the discipline or field.

Besides, the court will consider the expert’s testimony if it contains unambiguous information and follows the rules and regulations. Expert witnesses must also follow the standard of practice in their field of expertise.

Independence

An expert witness can offer testimony on behalf of the victim and defendant. However, the testimony they present before the court must not be partial. An expert witness’s testimony is based on facts, meaning the professional must not worry about whether the court’s final decision favors the plaintiff or defendant.

Helpfulness

Expert witnesses add value to the case and help the fact finder. The Federal Rules of Evidence states that expert testimony must provide a professional and reliable opinion to assist the court in reaching a conclusion. The witness can include scientific connections that pertain to the evidence.

The court won’t consider the expert opinion admissible or helpful if their assumptions are against the facts of the case. Therefore, an expert witness must provide reliable and practical information that is new to the judge or jury. That way, the court can ensure bridging all analytical gaps in the proceedings.

What is an example of an expert witness?

If you want to understand the role of an expert witness, especially in the medical field, let us give you an example. The plaintiff, Cody Rhodes, brought a medical negligence action against Dr. Max Goodwin, who failed to refer him for diagnosing prostate cancer promptly.

Mr. Rhodes hired several medical expert witnesses to establish that Dr. Goodwin breached the standard of care. Medical experts who testified included a pathologist, oncologist, and psychologist, to analyze the loss and grief, financial, and end-of-life costs.

The court found the expert witness testimony convincing and held that plaintiff, Mr. Rhodes, met the burden of proof, meaning Dr. Goodwin had breached the standard of care. Based on the expert witness testimony, the judge and jury awarded Mr. Rhodes about $4.5 million in damages.  

Contact Legal Medical Consulting

Legal Medical Consulting knows what it takes to prove a medical negligence claim. For many years, our expert witnesses have fought for the rights of medical victims. Our firm has all the resources and knowledge to enlist a professional and experienced expert witness for your case.

In today’s post, we have specifically talked about who can be an expert witness. Contact us today if you need a professional and skilled expert witness for a medical malpractice case.  

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