Tag Archives: the medicolegal blog

Medical Expert Witness: Challenge of Fatigue

After 16 years in the industry, we have seen our fair share of extraordinary cases filled with stories, emotions, and at times, nearly unbelievable events.

With this experience, comes the danger of medical expert witness fatigue.  Plaintiffs and Defendants are added to the memory bank, but begin to be grouped together in the mind.  What was once shocking, becomes an essential case detail instead.

Because the well being of people hinge on our work, the emotional and psychological toll can at times be great.  And that wears on a person.

To combat that, we only need to look around to our families and loved ones.  We ask ourselves what we would want if someone we loved were a Plaintiff or Defendant in a case.  This always gives new meaning to our work and drives us to be at our best.

Advance always,

Robert Leonard Pham

RIP Connor

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

The Ideal Medical Expert Witness

Ideal medical expert witnesses do exist, and there are certain qualities that Experts Clearinghouse targets when determining who we recommend for medical malpractice cases and pharmaceutical or product liability mass torts.

First and foremost, we target expert witnesses who are board certified in their respective specialties and subspecialties.  Are we saying that a doctor must be board certified to be a good doctor?  Absolutely not, but when it comes to demonstrating expertise within the courtroom, having the training necessary to be certified by an American Board of Medical Specialties entity certainly helps.  Certain states even require it.  As a practice, Experts Clearinghouse only recommends those who are board certified.

Second, we target those physicians who currently hold academic positions.  Again, we are not saying that this automatically means the physician is a good doctor, but what this demonstrates to a jury is that this physician commands enough respect among his or her peers to hold said position.  To be able to both practice and teach students medicine carries weight in the courtroom.

Coming hand in hand with teaching physicians often is the practice of research and publishing scientific papers.  Doing such demonstrates to a jury that this physician is up to date with the latest in one or multiple areas of expertise, even better when those said papers relate directly to the issues at hand in any given legal case.

As discussed elsewhere in this blog, presentability and communication skills are also paramount.  All of the credentials in the world do not carry much weight in the courtroom if the jury does not connect to or understand the expert witness.  I am thinking along the lines of the tree falling with no one around to hear analogy, although in this case, words are heard but the question is comprehension and impact.

As for the expert witness advertising him or herself as an expert witness, I am still on the fence regarding recommending or discouraging this practice.  I can honestly say that the practice is becoming more accepted in the industry, although generally, the medical expert witnesses that Experts Clearinghouse recommends do not advertise.  As stated previously, this is the choice of the expert.  Expert witness work is stimulating and worthwhile for many, and even better that one can be compensated for sharing ones expertise.  I consider myself a sort of expert on expert witnesses, especially medical, and I am glad I get a chance to help push along the tough cases which our beautiful legal system must face.

Because I am compensated for my expertise, I feel even more obligated to act in the most prudent and honest manner possible.  The ideal medical expert witness does the same.

The ideal medical expert witness will have a license in good standing and currently practicing, at least in some capacity.  Experts Clearinghouse has worked with clients who actually prefer Professors who are semi-retired because they have the time necessary for expert witness record and literature review and testimony, particularly for multi-plaintiff mass torts.

The ideal medical expert witness does not do too much expert witness work.  The definition of “too much” will depend on the client, but almost universally sought after is a balanced mixture of Defense and Plaintiffs work.

Are you the ideal medical expert witness?  Please let us know if you are interested in doing expert witness work.  We would love and honor the opportunity to work with you.

Keep pushing and thank you,

Robert Leonard Pham


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Medical Expert Witness Fees

There are a number of factors which can potentially dictate how much a medical expert witness can charge for his or her services.  They will be discussed in this blog post.

The first and most important factor is the type of degree the medical expert witness holds, assuming that the expert is still practicing with a license in good standing in their respective field.  Medical doctors are at the top of the pyramid with their doctorate level research colleagues (Ph. D.’s) and Pharmacists next followed by registered nurses and physical therapists with technicians last.

Below are typical minimums charged by the medical expert witness for record review and report writing.  The per hour starting points:

M.D. and D.O. – $250/hr.

Doctorate level research scientist or pharmacist – $150/hr.

Registered nurse or physical therapist – $100/hr.

Technicians – $75/hr.

Testimony whether in deposition or trial usually means higher rates for the medical expert witness, typically seeing a rate increase of a factor of one and a half to two.  The per hour starting points thus become:

M.D. and D.O. – $300/hr.

Doctorate level research scientist or pharmacist – $200/hr.

Registered nurse or physical therapist – $150/hr.

Technicians – $125/hr.

As for how much the medical expert witness can command, more details will be discussed below.

For an M.D. and a D.O., if you perform surgical procedures, typically you can command more doing expert witness work especially as your specialty and subspecialty are practiced by less people.

Also for an M.D. and a D.O., being Board Certified in your respective specialty and subspecialty will allow you to dictate more.  Almost all clients require their expert witness to be Board Certified, and Experts Clearinghouse’s own policy is to recommend only Board Certified physicians.

A factor which applies to all medical expert witnesses is whether or not the expert currently holds a teaching position in his or her respective field of expertise.  Department Chairs command the most followed by Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, and Clinical Instructors respectively.

Teaching at well known and respected institutions also usually means the medical expert witness can command more.

These are the typical fee factors which we have seen from the thousands of medical expert witnesses which we have been exposed to and placed since 1998.

Keep pushing and thank you,

Robert Leonard Pham

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Experts Clearinghouse LLC consistently delivers the most sought after medical expert witnesses to law firms, corporations, and governments who need them the most. Our network includes the absolute best credentialed and respected practitioners who testify in the toughest of scenarios, often when other networks have failed.

Call us today for your free initial consultation at 713-501-8526 or e-mail at medexperts@gmail.com.

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