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What is the Role of Expert Witnesses in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Arlington Heights medical malpractice attorneysSurgeons, doctors, and other medical professionals have an incredibly important job. A single mistake can lead to a patient’s severe injury or even the patient’s death. Medical malpractice claims against negligent medical professionals can serve two important purposes: holding the negligent medical professional accountable for the patient’s harm and recovering financial compensation for the patient or the patient’s surviving loved one. To win a medical malpractice claim, medical malpractice lawyers often utilize testimony from expert witnesses.

Demonstrating the Defendant’s Breach of Duty

Medical malpractice may involve failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, medication mistakes, surgical errors, birth injuries, and a range of other issues. However, most medical malpractice claims come down to four main questions:

  • Did a doctor-patient relationship exist?
  • Did the medical professional breach the medical standard of care?
  • Is the patient’s injury or death a result of the breach of care?
  • Did the patient or the patient’s surviving family suffer damages or financial losses due to the injury or death?

The “medical standard of care” is the type of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional in the same field would have provided under similar circumstances. Many medical malpractice claims involve complicated medical issues and medical decision-making that is hard for a lay person to understand. Medical experts are often used to provide insight about whether the defendant’s conduct breached the medical standard of care. For example, an expert in the field of birth injuries may offer his or her opinion about whether an obstetrician should have performed an emergency Cesarean delivery (C-section) or not. The expert may also speak to the cause of the patient’s injury or death and whether the defendant’s actions directly contributed to the injury or death. A medical expert may offer opinions based on his or her own medical experience and knowledge. The expert may also point to industry standards and information in academic publications.

Financial Experts May Also Be Used in Medical Malpractice Cases

The amount of compensation that an injured patient may receive is based on the damages that he or she suffered. Expert witnesses may also be used to demonstrate the extent of an injured patient’s damages. Medical billing experts may be used to explain the types of future medical costs the injured patient will likely encounter because of the malpractice. A vocational rehabilitation expert may offer insight about the harm the injury caused to the patient’s earning capacity.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one were the victim of medical negligence, contact an Arlington Heights medical malpractice attorney from Newland & Newland, LLP. Our team knows how to effectively utilize expert witnesses and expert consultants to build the strongest claim possible for you. Call our office at 847-797-8000 for a free case review.

 

Source:

https://courts.illinois.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/IL_IPI_Civil.pdf

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