We will continue to discuss ways to find qualified medical and dental expert witnesses to help you win your case.
A Medico-Legal Service – Part VII
These are organizations that locate expert witnesses for lawyers in medical malpractice and dental malpractice cases. A Medico-Legal Service can provide you with a qualified expert witness and give your lawyer assistance with medical research and in mastering the vital, technical questions that arise in a malpractice case. It is the easiest way to locate a medical expert witness or dental expert witness, unless you know a doctor, who is qualified in the right specialty and who will testify for you.
Defendant doctors rarely have trouble finding an expert witness. Physicians in the hospital, and the local medical community, want to help another physician in trouble. Likewise, dentists are available to assist their colleagues, when they are in trouble. Doctors see a malpractice lawsuit against another doctor as planting the seeds for lawsuits against them. No matter how bad the malpractice, there is no lack of medical experts or dental experts ready to testify on behalf of a doctor or a hospital.
A Medico-Legal Service works like an employment agency. They have hundreds of independent doctors, in all medical and dental specialties, who are willing to testify against another doctor, if they believe a case has merit. These services can also provide medical literature to educate your lawyer in the technical, medical or dental questions involved in your case.
Some Medico-Legal Services will also guarantee you an expert, if your case has merit. Before hiring a Medico-Legal Service, your attorney should carefully review the service’s terms and conditions and guarantee for placing an expert in your case.
One service charged a woman $1,500.00 to review her medical records. They sent her lawyer a report saying her case had merit. But, the report was written by a doctor, who would not testify or act as her expert witness. He only reviewed files and wrote reports for $1,500.00. Then, for an additional $1,000.00, the service offered to send her file to a doctor, who would testify. The second doctor disagreed with the opinion of the first doctor and refused to testify. So, the service went back to the woman and said, “The expert who testifies does not agree with the doctor who evaluated your case. If you want to come up with another $1,000.00, we can send it to another expert for a third opinion. There is no guarantee that he will support it either.” At that point, the woman had nothing to show for her $2,500.00, and she dropped her case.
Another service charged a Michigan woman $800.00 for the name of a doctor, who would act as her expert witness, and sure enough, they gave her the name of a specialist, who was delighted to help her. Unfortunately, it turned out that he had not practiced his specialty in over 15 years; he had never held a hospital appointment for more than a few months; and he could not examine the woman, because he had no malpractice insurance. The expert’s sole source of income came from acting as a professional expert witness. When he testified at trial, the defense lawyers discredited him so thoroughly that it only took the jury 15 minutes to deliver a verdict for the defendant doctor.
The Rule Is: Before you pay a doctor to act as your medical expert or dental expert, your lawyer should carefully check the expert’s credentials to make sure the expert is a competent witness. If you work through a Medico-Legal Service make sure you and your lawyer understand their terms and conditions and warranties, if any.