Tag Archives: basics

Medical Consultant versus Expert Witness

If you are a healthcare professional interested in doing medicolegal work, you may be wondering what kind of roles you can assume in a case.  This blog post will give you the basics.

Put simply, you must decide whether you want to be involved behind the scenes or be willing to testify.

Being behind the scenes as a consultant, you will evaluate the facts of the case through the pertinent medical records and relevant literature.  You will give the attorney  client your opinions, informing his or her next step.  You may be asked to write a report of your findings, but that report will not be submitted to the court.  You will not give your opinion under oath during deposition and trial.

Being a consultant is an attractive option to many, including a great number of nurses who offer medical record summaries to attorneys, but when testimony under oath is needed, so is a testifying expert witness.

The testifying expert witness will do all that the consultant will do, but his or her written report will be submitted to the court and, if necessary, he or she will give testimony during deposition or trial.

The testifying expert witness’s increased involvement means added time commitment and exposure to the stress of testimony, but the rewards of being the difference between success and failure during trial can be yours.

Experts Clearinghouse’s clients typically prefer to have medical professionals who testify as well, most likely because all roles are met by a single person.  Time and resources are saved.

Let us know if you would like to be involved.

Thank you, and keep pushing,

Robert Leonard Pham

Current Medicolegal Dilemmas

The title to this post, Current Medicolegal Dilemmas, is misleading now that I think about it a bit.

Even with the advent of technology that mostly eliminates the need for hard copies and even with software which assists in legal research and record retrieval, the core of medicolegal matters remains the people who are involved in a case.

At the end of the day, regardless of which side you represent, your case will fail if your expert witness is deemed untrustworthy or meritless.  The digital age has made it easier to find experts in certain fields, but that expert must still hold weight in court.

With that comes the prerequisites of an expert witness that will probably never change:  Presentability and Communication.

Presentability speaks to how a jury will respond to an expert witness, however superficial that initial response may be.  Unfortunately, this fact often hinges heavily on physical appearance but ultimately it is the litigator who will consider all aspects possible when choosing an expert witness.

Communication gives the litigator less wiggle room.  If the expert witness cannot communicate in a clear and convincing manner or cannot be understood by the jury, everything else is for naught.

The medicolegal world has changed tremendously when it comes to the accessibility of information and how fast that information can be gathered and distributed, but in some ways I take comfort in the fact that the obvious realities of real life challenges remain.  The medicolegal field remains rooted in people.

Keep pushing,

Robert Leonard Pham



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