Why Expert Witnesses Are Vital Part of Medical Malpractice Case

The jury that must hear the arguments made in a medical malpractice case gets exposed to highly technical information. Sometimes, it becomes hard for that body of 12 people to sort out the points that have the greatest bearing on the jury’s decision. That fact should help to underscore the role of the expert witness.

When does the jury need to consider the expert’s opinion?

The expert’s opinion should be on the jurors’ minds when they arrive at the point where the presented facts must be analyzed. That would be during the time that the jurors were meeting, in order to decide on a verdict. Personal Injury Lawyer in Huntsville knows that the information shared by expert witnesses could also sway the jurors’ minds, as they attempt to answer 2 important questions.

What questions does the jury have to answer, as it works on reaching a verdict?

• Did the doctor, the defendant follow the established standard of care?
• If the doctor did fail to follow that standard of care, then did that failure cause the affected patient to sustain an injury?

How are members of the jury guided by statements from expert witnesses, as they try to answer the 2 pressing questions?

Normally, someone that must sit on a jury does not know what actions and decisions would be in agreement with the established standard of care. An expert can explain what that standard is, and how it relates to this particular case.

In order to arrive at an acceptable answer to the second question, the jurors must know what other factors might have caused the outcome, the one that led to the claim of medical malpractice from the affected patient. Medical experts have the ability to offer information on those other factors.

If a patient had suffered an adverse reaction to a newly prescribed medicine, an expert could review all the ways that a mistake might have been made. The pharmacist could have made a mistake. The nurse giving the medicine might have asked the patient to take too many pills. The jurors would then have reason to consider those possibilities. If the lawyer for the plaintiff/patient had failed to offer proof of the fact that the other factors could not be ruled out, then the jury could be reluctant to issue a guilty verdict.

It would not have been presented with proof of the fact that a mistake made by the doctor had caused the patient’s pain and discomfort, following administration of the new medication. Moreover, the same jury had learned about other factors that might have caused the same outcome. The statements made by the expert witnesses had been vital to that medical malpractice case. Those statements had worked to shape the jury’s decision.