Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

The Difficulties and Benefits of Medical Experts

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Apr 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

Claims of medical malpractice can be complex and difficult to prove. As the patient, you may have little to no idea of what actually went wrong during the procedure. This is why the testimony of medical experts can be crucial to a medical malpractice claim.

Maryland Requires Experts to Sign Off on a Malpractice Claim

Politicians in Maryland, as well as many other states in the U.S., have taken great steps to protect hospitals and health care providers from lawsuits. While this might keep the costs of health care down, it also means that some legitimate claims of medical malpractice either never get off the ground, or face a long, uphill battle in court.

One of the ways that Maryland stifles malpractice lawsuits is by requiring a medical professional to sign a “Certificate of Qualified Expert.” This certificate is a statement by a health care professional that they believe that, in this case, medical malpractice was committed.

Maryland even limits which health care professionals are eligible to sign a Certificate of Qualified Expert. To be eligible, a medical expert has to make less than 20% of his or her income from testifying in personal injury or medical malpractice cases. In theory, this limits the use of medical experts who are just “hired guns,” and who make their living testifying that other doctors committed malpractice. In reality, though, it makes it much more difficult for legitimate malpractice claims to find a willing and able medical professional to sign a certificate of merit.

Medical Experts Can Both Educate and Persuade the Jury

When a medical professional testifies in a malpractice case, their knowledge and expertise often have a great impression on the jury. As an expert witness, a doctor or another medical professional provides testimony that guides the jury through the specific procedure or diagnosis that ended up causing your injury. If done well, it can be clear that the correct steps were not taken, and that the mistakes that were made constituted medical malpractice.

Even beyond educating the jury about the proper technique, a medical professional, like all expert witnesses in a trial, will be asked to provide their opinion on the case. This is why there are often multiple expert witnesses in a case, with both sides bringing their own to the trial. A good expert witness for the plaintiff will convincingly tell the jury his or her opinion on exactly how the medical procedure went wrong, and why it should be considered medical malpractice.

Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Expert witnesses are a necessity for a medical malpractice trial. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys, like those at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian, can help. Call us at (800) 529-6162 or contact us online.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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