Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases
Usually it’s necessary for both parties in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, or nurse in Florida to retain an expert. The expert witness is someone who is an authority in the relevant medical subject matter and can help the factfinder get to a conclusion at trial. Expert testimony in medical malpractice cases is essential. An experienced Ocala medical malpractice attorney can identify which experts would provide effective testimony in your case, and will know how to present your arguments at trial.Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases
Not every error made by a doctor or other health care provider counts as medical malpractice. Rather, in order to establish medical malpractice, an injured patient must prove that it is more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a professional duty of care, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation and (4) damages. In most cases, it is necessary to retain an expert in the same field as the defendant to show what the professional standard of care was under the circumstances, how it was breached, and whether the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.Certificate
Under Florida Statutes section 766.104, your attorney, when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf as a plaintiff, must include a certificate saying he’s made a reasonable investigation as allowed by the situation and has a good faith belief that there was negligence in your care or treatment. Often the attorney can meet this requirement by getting a written opinion of a qualified medical expert attesting that there is evidence of medical negligence. Additionally, all defendants are supposed to be given notice of your intent to sue before you sue under section 766.106. You can’t sue for 90 days after serving the requisite notice. This allows the defendant or defendants and their insurers to go through investigations to figure out, in good faith, whether there may be liability.Qualifying as an Expert
In Florida, an expert witness is someone who duly and regularly engages in the practice of a profession, who holds a professional degree from a college or university, and has particular professional training and experience. That person must be qualified as a witness under Florida law. It can also be somebody who has particular skill or knowledge about the subject he or she has been called to testify on. Florida Statutes section 90.702 permits qualification of an expert who can testify in the form of an opinion where two fact determinations have been made. The court needs to: (1) decide the subject matter is appropriate for expert testimony, (2) decide whether the particular witness is qualified enough to express an opinion about the subject.
The court is supposed to look at whether an expert witness presented to testify has enough knowledge, education, or training to render the particular opinion he or she is going to express. The attorney presenting the expert witness is supposed to show what aspect of the expert witness’s history qualifies him or her as an expert.
Expert witnesses are only allowed to testify as an expert in a specific area of expertise. It isn’t enough for a witness to claim qualification generally. Rather, the witness needs to have particular knowledge about the particular subject that the opinion is being expressed about. If an expert exceeds his or her expertise, he or she won’t be able to testify as an expert in those areas. For example, just because an expert has expertise in diagnosing breast cancer doesn’t mean she also has expertise in the economic effects of suffering breast cancer.Dedicated Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Ocala
If you have questions about expert testimony in medical malpractice cases in Ocala, a seasoned medical negligence lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. At the Dean Law Firm, we provide knowledgeable and diligent legal representation. Call (352) 387-8700 to set up a free consultation with an or contact us online.