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Medical Expert Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case

medical expertMost personal injury case requires from the testimony and opinions of expert witnesses. But the typical car accident victim finds it difficult to know whether their claim could benefit from expert witnesses, what type of experts they might need, and how to find these experts.

An expert witness is someone with special knowledge, proficiency, or experience to be considered an authority on a certain subject. One type of expert witness is especially important. 

A doctor or medical expert working on your case can help the insurance company or court understand your injuries and their likely future impact. A seasoned medical expert could unlock thousands of dollars in potential settlement money for your case. 

Most people do not have the ability or financial resources to hire medical experts themselves. And you are not expected to know the right medical experts. However, a qualified car accident lawyer who has experience taking cases to court can find the right medical expert witnesses for your specific case.

What a Medical Expert Can do for a Case

Even in cases where negligence is undisputed, the two sides in a personal injury lawsuit rarely agree on the nature or extent of a victim’s injuries. That goes for medical professionals, physicians, and doctors as well. 

In cases involving serious injuries, each side will call one or more medical experts to provide their professional opinions on the victim’s condition. A jury will then weigh the conflicting testimony to determine which expert has the better story. 

For example, a medical expert hired by the defendant’s insurance company may dispute the extent of a victim’s back injury and resulting pain. While the victim’s pain is obviously real, the insurance company wants to paint a picture that the injury is exaggerated. This ultimately can drive down the value of a case.

If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you can expect the defense or their insurance company to test the legitimacy of your injuries in an independent medical examination (IME). Usually, the insurance company requests an IME because it disagrees with your treating doctor about the course of medical treatment or the extent of any permanent disability. 

The “independent” physician that the insurance company is paying to examine you wants to find ways to prove that you are exaggerating your condition, or just pretending to be injured. It is essential to know what to expect in the IME and be prepared for your role in the case.

Types of Medical Experts in a Case

Although the medical expert is instructed and paid for by one of the sides in a case, they have a duty to the court to provide their report independent of who is paying them.

The most common types of medical experts in a case include: 

  • General practitioner
  • Accident and emergency expert
  • Orthopedic surgeon
  • Neurologist
  • Physical therapist

If you are pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical expert is almost certainly required. The medical expert will need to provide an opinion regarding how the medical professional or entity in question deviated from the standard of care owed to you.

An attorney sometimes will be instructed by their client to find a medical expert that is likely to provide a favorable report or embellish their injuries. This is known as “expert shopping” and it is frowned upon by courts. 

Secure Your Legal Rights ASAP

At Davis Law Group, P.S., we realize how critical medical expert witnesses are to a successful injury case, and can assure you that we have a long-term relationship with many doctors and medical experts across Washington state. We have the contacts, as well as the financial resources it requires to hire the right medical expert witnesses to help us win your case. We also handle all upfront costs on your behalf, and work on a contingency fee, so you don’t have to worry about paying out of pocket. 

For a free case evaluation, contact our award-winning team of personal injury lawyers today. Call (206) 727-4000, use the confidential form on this page or use the chat feature below.

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Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.