Medical expert witnesses play an important part in criminal and civil court trials. Their function is to help the jurors and judges understand the technical evidence that is presented. The specially skilled person may be hired by either the plaintiff or the defense. When the trained individual gives testimony as it relates to the evidence, they are held to a very high ethical standard.
For malpractice law suits, the expert who is testifying, should be an individual who specializes in the kind of medical injury that the court case is about. Additionally, when a court case involves a head trauma that was the result of an accident, it makes good legal sense to hire a head trauma specialist to testify to the damages that were sustained. Likewise, an orthopedic specialist would be hired to testify in a case involving a spinal injury.
While it is important for the plaintiff to use a medical expertly trained witness to prove their case, it is equally important for the one being sued, or the defendant, to use the specialist to help discredit the claim of the injuries. A good medical expert is able to separate the facts of the case from the evidence that can be challenged.
To prove or disprove the claim being made, the specialist must possess the medical knowledge that is associated with the type of injury that the case involves. The expert witness should also be able to give supporting evidence that will back up their testimony, such as results of studies and research that show that other experts agree. When the individual can support and verify their own testimony, jurors and judges are more easily able to arrive at informed conclusions.
The medical expert witness is able to give testimony about laboratory test results that come into evidence in a court case. The skilled individual can very clearly explain the significance of a blood test, an x ray, and other tests used to make a diagnosis. In criminal cases, the individual trained in forensics provides an important service by explaining such evidence as DNA results. With so many advances in technology, it is important to use individuals who are able to present a clear picture of the evidence in the court room.
When the individual giving the testimony is well respected and his or her opinions are accepted by the health care community, the side for which they are testifying, plaintiff or defense, gains strength. However, when the determinations and opinions of the individual are questioned by the health care community, the credibility of the person is lowered.
A specialist who is able to give testimony in lay man terms adds strength to the case by helping the jury and judge to understand technical evidence. If an the individual uses terms that are not understood by those deciding the case, they may be jeopardizing the outcome.
Often, prosecutors and defense attorneys have compiled a list of their own medical expert witnesses that they will hire as they need them. Making the most of a trained individual by using them according to their field of expertise helps them make a strong case and will often greatly influence the outcome.