The Role of Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

The Role of Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Witnesses are a major component in any legal claim, and your personal injury or medical malpractice claim is no exception. Your witnesses can help boost your position in court and they can also help provide useful information to determine who is at fault.

During a medical malpractice lawsuit, the hospital and all members of the healthcare team will be named as defendants. This includes the nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, ambulance attendants, lab technicians or any hospital employees who provided care.

Both the plaintiff and defendant might be required to attain witnesses and expert witnesses to give expert opinions. In personal injury cases, eyewitnesses are able to provide evidence about why your accident and resulting injuries occurred. Medical experts can testify about your injuries and the impact they have had on your life.

Testimony from an expert is usually required during medical malpractice cases because the facts are typically too complex for individuals without a medical background to determine whether the patient’s doctor should be held accountable for the patient’s injuries.

Types of Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case

In general, there are two types of witnesses in a personal injury case: lay witnesses and expert witnesses. Lay witnesses are those who aren’t experts but can still provide some useful information about what they observed, like how an accident occurred. Lay witnesses can only give their opinions about what they saw or what they perceived of the situation.

An expert witness is someone who possesses unique skills, knowledge, experience, education or training that makes them qualified to provide an opinion about the issue in question. Such as how the victim’s injuries are linked to the accident. Expert witnesses are used on both sides of the legal case to help explain the complex elements of the case to the judge and jury.

Expert witnesses can provide unbiased and objective testimony, whereas lay witnesses cannot. Experts can also help clarify issues unclear to a judge or jury by offering inference based on the facts and evidence within the case.

The types of expert witnesses required for a case depend on the type of accident that occurred and the type of injuries sustained. Every individual’s claim is different and some might need more than one type of expert witness to prove a claim.

Medical experts like surgeons, doctors, medical technicians and other professionals are usually used to providing opinions in terms of the victim’s injuries, treatment, the effect of those injuries on the victim and the likely cause of the injuries. During a medical malpractice lawsuit, medical experts are needed to provide expert opinions on the appropriate standard of care and how the healthcare providers failed to meet this standard of care.

Credentials of an Expert Witness

Your medical malpractice attorney will be able to help you figure out which type of experts are needed for your individual case. The expert witness you bring to your case will need to have the following credentials:

  • A high level of knowledge in their field
  • Experience providing legal testimony
  • Published in professional journals or books
  • Experience teaching or possesses the ability to explain complex ideas to laypersons
  • Qualifications that distinguish them in their field.

An expert witness is obligated to provide an unbiased opinion regardless of who hired them or how much they will get paid. It is imperative that the expert only provide evidence and opinion on an issue that is within their own area of expertise.

The first step towards any successful personal injury case is hiring the right medical malpractice lawyer. You will need a lawyer who has the right expertise to take you through the complex and risky litigation process.

Consult With Expert Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice litigations are one of the most complex legal claims and it is critical that you get the consultation of experienced attorneys who are well-versed in medical issues. At Sommers Roth & Elmaleh, we have an extensive track record of successful litigations for our clients across Canada.

If you would like to know more about medical negligence litigation, call Sommers Roth & Elmaleh at 416-961-1211 or contact us here.

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A lawyer from Sommers Roth & Elmaleh will be in touch with you as soon as possible. Please note that no lawyer-client, advisory, or fiduciary relationship is created by your inquiry. All information provided is confidential.

The above information is not legal advice. Past results of cases and recoveries by our medical malpractice lawyers against hospitals, doctors, midwives, nurses and other healthcare professionals are not necessarily indicative of future results. The amounts recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.