We rely on medical staff to keep us in tip-top shape day in and day out. The public trusts these people with their long term health and bodily function, and they’ve been certified by governing bodies to ensure that very thing. Medical professionals are humans at the end of the day, though, and all humans are susceptible to some level of error. When that level of error goes beyond a reasonable amount, there’s a chance that medical malpractice has occurred, at which point the patient can seek compensation as well as punishment towards the offending practitioner.
A lawyer is seen as a necessary component in these cases, as they have the experience to navigate the court system and ensure a proper decision is made. However, medical experts may also be brought to further consolidate your case, depending on the complexity of the procedure. It takes time, effort, and sometimes even money to bring in these specialists, so they should only be brought in when absolutely necessary. Not only does bringing in a medical expert take up more time in the court, that medical authority must also take time off from their regular duties to appear in the courtroom.
So when should you look for a medical expert instead of relying on legal counsel alone? Here’s what you need to consider:
Why are medical experts used in the first place?
Without a medical expert, it is much more likely that a court will rule a certain way prematurely or have the case dismissed altogether. Very often it might seem as if a case has nothing to do with the realm of medical malpractice, but a judge and a doctor, while both educated and rational professionals, deal with completely different rules and stipulations. What might seem obvious to the doctor might fly completely over the head of a judge. To someone who has the right knowledge, both the plaintiff and the defendant are given a much more sober assessment of what has occurred and the judge can also have a much better idea of what was expected in any given situation. Without these professionals in the room, there’s a huge risk of negligent staff continuing to act in a certain way to the detriment of their patients.
Was the procedure complex/specialized?
The people in court are first and foremost civil servants who have spent time becoming educated in the legal system. These are persons of law & legal proceedings, not medical geniuses. There are some complex procedures that are simply beyond the grasp of the average lawyer or judge since they weren’t properly trained in these kinds of procedures. If an extremely difficult/complex procedure was undertaken, that’s primarily described in medical terms that aren’t easy to digest or understand, a medical expert can prove invaluable. As explained on this site: https://www.wnwlaw.com/medical-malpractice/, if you believe a medical professional acted improperly, expert testimony can help corroborate your feelings. Lawyers often keep medical experts on retainer so it’s likely they’ll be able to check with an expert about your suspicions long before you see the light of a courtroom. What might seem like a minor oversight to untrained individuals could be a major error to those in the medical field, so determined whether or not a doctor is at fault can hinge directly on expert testimony.
Establish standards of care
Nearly every jurisdiction has a document that outlines all of the responsibilities and procedures of an individual medical practitioner. Those in the healthcare field include much more than a doctor, a personal service worker or a nurse, or even a paramedic can have a medical malpractice suit filed against them. The line between nurse and doctor can often be very blurry, and those who aren’t in the know might think that a nurse acted accordingly when instead they should have called upon the expertise of a practicing doctor. Medical professionals who have experience running hospitals or other medical care facilities are intimately acquainted with these rules and can explain them in layman’s terms in open court. So, this means that expert medical staff is often called in when it is ambiguous if a medical professional overstepped their professional imitations when caring for a patient.
One aspect of any medical malpractice suit is the business of assigning failure. A routine infection or common complication that is outside the purview of the doctor isn’t typically considered medical malpractice, but if this happened directly because of what staff did or didn’t do, it can easily be considered medical malpractice. An expert who has seen thousands of cases over their career can weigh in on a particular case to inform the court if staff truly did everything in their power to not fail the patient. When the exact cause of an event that has caused mental or physical detriment cannot be easily determined by the legal system, these people are often the last resort.
In short, whether or not it is necessary to hire an expert in a medical malpractice case is completely depending on the nature of the case itself. Your legal staff will more than likely inform you whether or not expert help will need to be called in. It is also important that you bring as many supporting documents as you can with you when first presenting your case to a lawyer, they will quickly be able to determine whether or not there is a grey area in which expert testimony is necessary. What might seem like an open-and-shut case might become infinitely more complicated by the addition of one or two minor details. The added hassle of bringing in a medical expert pales in comparison to the possible damages that can be awarded to a patient when they are necessary, there’s very little reason to pass over their expertise and take a shot at it without them.
Hopefully, you should never find yourself in a situation where you are considering bringing in someone with more specialized knowledge, but rest assured that they are working on your behalf to better state your case at the end of the day.