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How to Get Medical experts for Your Maryland Medical Malpractice Case
Most of the doctor expert witness retentions involve hiring doctors who make themselves available to testify for compensation. Even though hospitals or doctor groups may employ them, lawyers often engage with the doctor personally. The following are some issues that come up when searching for doctor experts.
Where to find experts
The best medical witnesses limit the number of court engagements they accept, so lawyers don’t broadcast their names when they find a good one. Most successful Maryland medical malpractice lawyers build a stable of medical experts over time. It can be beneficial to have a few colleagues willing to share when one needs an expert that the other has. Even in this situation, some lawyers are only ready to share their “B Team” names.
What about Expert Referral Services
There are several potential pitfalls to using expert referral services. First, you do not know the expert. When you get a referral from a colleague, often that colleague can verify that working with the expert was an excellent experience. Second, you should question how good the expert is to need to join a referral service. Good experts can get as many testifying engagements as they want without needing to be listed in a referral service. As a result, many users of expert referral services are lawyers who have not built a stable of expert witnesses. This failure may be due to inexperience or poor results.
Factors for Hiring Experts for Medical Malpractice
Some factors can make a doctor an excellent candidate to be an expert. These are in addition to the obvious ones of being experienced and a good communicator.
Out of Town
Most expert engagements are with out-of-town doctors, and good reasons exist. If the defendant’s health care system employs an expert or the defendant’s malpractice company insures the expert, those connections can pressure the expert to decline the witness engagement. An expert from another state is less likely to have these problematic connections.
An out-of-state expert also is less likely to know the defendant or his colleagues. However, this is not guaranteed. The narrower the specialty and the smaller the field, the more likely a potential expert may know the expert. Finding an expert in this situation can be challenging.
Limited Testifying and Good Resume
A doctor who spends a lot of time testifying can raise questions. People wonder why they have to spend so much time testifying if they are such a good doctor. Defense attorneys will highlight this to juries. This emphasis ranges in its effectiveness. Conservative juries can be more swayed by this than liberal ones. In addition, defense adjusters and reps can be relied on to weigh this factor when considering settlement offers. Adjusters and reps are more impressed by expert resumes than juries.
The Maryland medical malpractice lawyer does have to be careful with the factor of limited testifying. Some experience in testifying can be a good thing. Witnesses get better with experience and develop skills in testifying, particularly in understanding and dealing with cross-examination. If an expert’s testimony experience is minimal, they may have yet to develop these skills. It can be a harrowing experience for a plaintiff’s lawyer to sit next to an inexperienced witness during a deposition cross-examination.
Testifies for Both Plaintiffs and Defendants
One of the sure topics for cross-examination is when all of your expert’s testifying experience has been for plaintiffs. Fortunately, it is usually the case that the defense has experts who have only testified for the defense. So that issue can cancel itself out.
Most experts gravitate to one side or the other. Much of it may follow early experience. Suppose an expert starts testifying and has early success. Whichever side they start on, the plaintiff or defense may continue to call them, so their testimony is weighted toward that side. However, there are times when experts have balanced experience testifying for both plaintiffs and defendants. This balance can make them more credible to juries, defense adjusters, and reps.
While paying attention to these factors makes sense, it pays to keep them as guidelines and not requirements. We can’t always predict their effect on juries. In one trial, the plaintiff’s lawyer called an expert who charged an hourly rate significantly above the other experts in the case. The defense lawyer hammered the expert about how much he made from testifying. After the jury returned a substantial plaintiff’s verdict, one of the jurors said, “We didn’t understand what that doctor was saying, but we figured anyone who can charge that much must know what they’re talking about. ” Go figure.
The Kopec Law is Ready for Hiring Experts for Your Medical Malpractice Case
After we complete hiring experts for medical malpractice, we will be ready to file your case in court. At the Kopec Law Firm, we are prepared to answer your questions about your case. When you call, you will speak directly with Attorney Mark Kopec. He is a top-rated Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. He will use his 30+ years of legal experience and 100% focus on medical malpractice to advise you. Contact us at 800-804-0704 for your free consultation.
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