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Expert witness testimony cited as an issue in lawsuit dismissal

Cases of negligence against hospitals and healthcare providers in New York City may often be difficult to argue simply because such disputes come down to the word of educated medical professionals against laymen. To help bolster their claims, plaintiffs in these cases may be wise to seek out other qualified clinicians to testify as experts on their behalf. The key to successfully using such testimony is ensuring that such witnesses meet the qualifications of being considered experts. If they do not, then one risks having any evidence or testimony they offer being discredited.

Such a lack of expert opinion is believed to be among the reasons why a medical malpractice lawsuit in Washington was recently thrown out. The lawsuit was brought by a woman who was treated at the emergency department of a local medical center following a fall. She claims that she was incorrectly diagnosed as having a mental illness when she claims that she actually suffered a head injury. Despite the woman’s assertions that one of the family members who brought her in for treatment told her hospital providers that she had suffered a fall, the visit notes show that one of those with her also believed that she was intoxicated.

The woman had a clinical case manager argue her point of her having a suffered a brain injury. However, those representing the defendants in the case countered by saying that the case manger’s credentials did not qualify her as expert regarding emergency room treatment.

Every state has its own criteria for qualifying an expert witness. People not familiar with the law, however, are likely unaware of those qualifications. An attorney may be. Thus, those looking to initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit may want to engage the services of such a professional.

Source: Longview Daily News “Medical malpractice lawsuit against PeaceHealth dismissed” Kronebusch, Lauren, Jan. 25, 2017

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