In medical malpractice, personal injury lawsuits, and high-level insurance lawsuits, it may be important to bring in a medical expert witness. Choosing the right expert sets off the process of using a witness most appropriately. The individual you select should have both experience and knowledge of the issues at play. There are three primary ways that an attorney can help to prepare a medical expert witness for a trial.
Step #1: Vet the Expert Carefully. Who you choose as the expert plays an important role in how successful this individual will be in handling your case. You need to identify someone who has the medical background, continues in active medical practice and has the ability to relate to other individuals in terms of communication.
Having a highly experienced doctor on the stand might seem like a good idea at first. However, if he or she cannot communicate effectively to the jury or to the judge, you may find yourself wishing you had chosen a different medical expert witness. Choose the right person the first time around to avoid these challenges.
Step #2: Give the Witness Accurate and Organized Material to Review. One of the easiest, most time efficient ways to do this is to use an outsourced medical records summary and preparation firm. This makes it easier for everyone to analyze all of the materials and saves you time and money when outsourcing to the right firm. Even an expert needs to have help digging down into the particular details that are relevant to the case. A medical expert witness can review the actual records and the attorney can use the summary provided by the outsourced firm and help determine what is most appropriate and what needs to be referenced in trial.
The more the witness is comfortable with the material, the easier it will be for him or her to speak confidently in court. Dumping the entire medical file on the expert witness can lead to problems, since it might cause him or her to feel overwhelmed. Using medical records summaries, however, points out the key issues and reduces the time the expert has to spend looking at each and every file and visit detail. If you use a medical expert witness in a case with many medical records, you can make everyone’s lives much easier by using a medical records summary company to assist with trial preparation.
Step #3: Walk Through Sample Testimony. Preparing your medical expert witness should also include a walk through of what trial could look like. This includes discussing issues contained in the medical records and potential issues and questions that could come from each attorney to help ensure that the witness is prepared for deposition or trial. Remember that your medical expert witness needs to be prepared not only for the questions that you’ll ask, but also for the cross-examination. Preparing your legal medical expert for deposition or trial is important, but you could also expedite and professionalize the process by using a medical-legal document expert to go through and summarize the various materials involved.