We will continue to discuss several ways to find good or bad expert witnesses, who will win or lose your case.
Doctors Who Have Testified for Plaintiffs – Part VI
There are physicians, who do not seek work as medical expert witnesses but who have testified for plaintiffs. These doctors are ideal expert witnesses.
How do you find such an expert witness? In an earlier post, we advised you to ask around your neighborhood, talk to people you know, check internet directories, check local newspapers, or check your local court records to locate a winning lawyer. You may be able to find a doctor, who will help you, in the same way. That is what some lawyers do.
If you try to locate an out-of-state medical expert witness, be sure to talk to your lawyer before making any move. Some states have strict rules about who can testify. The most famous doctor in the United States cannot testify as an expert in Virginia, unless he is licensed in Virginia or qualifies for licensing in Virginia. A doctor must be licensed and practice in Tennessee, or a contiguous state, to testify as an expert witness in a Tennessee medical malpractice case. These are what are known as Locality Rules. They are a carryover from the last century, when a doctor went to a local medical school, then settled in a small town and never had any contact with the outside world. The courts said that only a doctor from the same community could give an opinion about another doctor’s performance.
Today, doctors receive essentially the same training and have opportunities to go to medical meetings, participate in continuing education, and research information on the internet. So, more and more states are wiping the old locality rules off the books and allowing any qualified doctor to give an opinion concerning medical malpractice. But, locality rules are still on the books in some states, and you need to check with your lawyer to be sure you do not recruit a medical expert witness, who will not qualify in the state where your lawsuit was filed.
State Locality Rules
National Standard of Care
The states in this category hold doctors to a national standard with no geographic limitation: Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The states in this category hold doctors to a statewide standard: Arizona, Virginia, and Washington.
Same Community Standard
The states in this category hold doctors to a local community standard: Idaho and New York (New York may deviate and apply a statewide or national standard).
Same or Similar Community Standard
The states in this category hold doctors to a local or same community standard: Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee.
Similar Community Standard for General Practitioners and National Standard for Specialists
The states in this category are Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.
The Rule Is: Before engaging the services of an out-of-state medical expert witness, make sure the expert will qualify in the state where the malpractice lawsuit was filed.
Contact us at 800-225-JDMD (5363) to have your malpractice cases reviewed by JD.MD’s qualified medical experts and dental experts.