Aug 12, 2019 by Foresight

The Varied Role of a Medical Expert Witness

Medical expert witnesses can play a huge role in many different types of case. Clinical professionals with demonstrable training and experience in their field can provide compelling evidence to defend the accused in a criminal case, and enable judges to make the fairest possible decision in a family case. The insight of a medical expert might also be useful in clinical negligence or personal injury cases. Not all medical expert witnesses are doctors; clinical professionals such as dentists, nurses and midwives can also provide evidence as an expert witness in relevant cases.

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence claims arise when a clinical professional makes an error which has an adverse effect on the life of a patient. This includes misdiagnoses, surgical errors, hospital neglect and birth injuries. Depending on the nature of the incident, many types of clinical expert might be involved in order to prove that a mistake has taken place. In the case of a birth injury to a mother, for example, the evidence of a midwife might be supported by a gynaecologist’s report to build a convincing case in support of the victim. The report of a medical expert witness can be very persuasive in court, and expert evidence helps ensure an appropriate compensation amount is awarded to the victim.

Catastrophic Personal Injury

A medical report or testimony from a medical expert witness can be hugely important in cases of catastrophic personal injury. A catastrophic personal injury is classed as an injury which results in a permanent disability, a long-term medical condition or a reduced life expectancy. Medical experts, particularly those specialising in the brain and spine, assess the extent of an individual’s injury and evaluate the impact their injuries will have on their life, and can present the court with convincing evidence to support a claim.

Criminal Defence

The insight of a medical expert witness can provide convincing insights into the factors affecting an individual’s behaviour at the time of a crime. A toxicology report can identify whether a suspect was likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and whether one or more substances present could have caused a lapse in judgement which resulted in a crime being committed. Medical experts can also assess whether an individual was physically or mentally capable of committing the offence of which they are accused, and whether any medical conditions affect the defendant’s ability to attend court and testify.

Family Law

In a family law case, the role of a medical expert witness is to provide evidence which will help the court make a decision which is in the best interests of any children involved. A paediatric assessment can either confirm or challenge allegations of abuse, and medical and psychiatric assessments of parents can determine whether they are capable of meeting all the needs of their children.

Medical expert witnesses help judges and legal teams understand complex clinical issues and their effects on an individual. These insights can be used to defend the accused in a criminal case, help a victim of medical negligence claim compensation, or help judges make the right decisions in family cases. At Foresight, we have over 150 medical expert witnesses available across countless disciplines, so get in touch if you require a medical expert for your legal case.



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