The expert’s testimony helps the jurors to sort through and understand the complex facts that relate to the alleged instance of medical malpractice.
The medical experts address 2 key questions:
Did the doctor/defendant follow the standard of care for physicians with the same level of experience and training?
Did the doctor/defendant’s failure to follow the accepted standard injure the patient? How likely was it that the doctor’s incompetence caused the injury?
Evidence available to any expert
• Medical publications
• Medical board guidelines
Timeline for securing expert’s guidance
The testimony that would be expected from any expert must be shared with the court before the trial starts. That rule applies to both experts testifying on the plaintiff’s behalf and those testifying on the defendant’s behalf. An injury lawyer in Calgary knows that in the absence of the shared information from either side, with respect to the expert’s testimony, the court reserves the right to decide the case in favor of the opposing side.
Qualifications for experts
Some states want the expert to be a specialist in a field that relates to the ongoing case.
—Such specialists must have attained a certain level of academic experience.
—Such specialists must have attained a certain level of practical experience.
—Each such specialist must have received a certification from the medical board.
Some states want to hear from experts that have devoted the bulk of their time to practicing medicine. The imposition of that requirement keeps career providers of testimony out of the courtroom.
What sorts of complex facts might an expert need to explain?
Facts about the level of care that had been offered by the defendant, as compared to the standard of care for physicians with the defendant’s level of experience and training
Facts concerning the ways that the defendant’s level of care, in a specific situation, had differed from the accepted standard.
Facts that pointed to the ways that the defendant’s incompetence had caused a specific injury.
Any fact that could support an allegation about an expert’s academic experience
Any fact that could add support to an allegation about an expert’s practical experience
Any fact that might have come from a medical publication or from the medical board guidelines
Why does the imposition against career providers of testimony help to ensure the creation of a fair decision?
Often, career providers of testimony make a point of using technical terms. That reduces the jurors’ ability to understand their statements. Normally, a jury will decide in favor of whichever side has produced the most understandable experts.
If both sides must link expertise and understandability, then the jury must decide on the basis of the presented facts. In other words, the jury is more likely to arrive at could be called a fair decision.