If you’re bringing a personal injury claim in the Huntsville, TX or Rockdale, TX area, it’s often going to be important to have a reliable medical expert in your corner as the right medical testimony can greatly influence the outcome of your case. A good personal injury attorney will have a network of potential medical experts who can help strengthen your case and interpret your medical records during settlement negotiations or a trial.
The Role of Medical Experts in a Personal Injury Case
A medical expert is not just another witness. This expert provides specialized knowledge based on years of training, education, and experience in a specialist medical field. Their testimony gives a clear, detailed analysis of the injuries you’ve sustained, the cause of those injuries, and the potential long-term consequences those injuries will have.
Given the complexities of medical jargon and the amount of specialist information involved in medicine generally, it can be hard for non-experts to properly understand the full extent and long-term impact of your injuries. A medical expert can break down these elements in a manner that’s easily understood.
Why Every Personal Injury Case Needs a Medical Expert
Your injuries speak for themselves, right? Not necessarily, and the whole success of your case could turn on having a medical expert’s testimony. For instance, if there’s a dispute regarding the severity of your injuries or how they occurred, a medical expert can be the clarifying voice.
Additionally, in cases where injuries are internal or otherwise not immediately visible, such as with traumatic brain injuries or whiplash, a medical expert can provide the necessary validation of your condition and suffering.
Choosing the Right Medical Expert for Your Case
Field of Specialization
First, you need a medical expert whose specialization aligns with your injury. For instance, if you’ve suffered a spinal injury, it would be best to have an orthopedic surgeon or a neurologist to testify on your behalf. On the other hand, if your claim involves psychological trauma, a psychologist or psychiatrist would be a more appropriate choice.
The more expert your witness is in the particular medical niche where your injuries fall, the more compelling their testimony will be.
Experience in Court Testimony
Having extensive medical knowledge isn’t the only criterion. Lots of people are experts in their field but lack the communication skills to discuss their area of expertise with those who aren’t knowledgeable about the subject. Additionally, even those who can communicate well can easily find themselves overwhelmed by the stresses of a courtroom, so it’s important for your expert to have some experience testifying in court.
Those who have this experience also understand the legal issues and courtroom jargon and can communicate effectively with a jury, so their testimony will be both credible and persuasive.
Reputation and Credibility
Reputation plays a significant role in the credibility of a witness. Potential experts should be respected in their field and have a history of providing unbiased, fact-based testimony. Beware of experts who are known to work solely for plaintiffs or defendants, as they might be perceived as biased, which could negatively impact your case.
Availability and Willingness to Testify
While some medical professionals might be excellent in their field, have good communication skills, and even have courtroom experience, they may simply not be willing or available to testify in court.
Discuss the expert’s availability and commitment to your case from the outset, understanding that cases sometimes take longer than you might think. A good lawyer will be able to help you and your medical expert hash out a realistic timeline.
Fees and Costs
An expert’s fee structure may be a factor, depending on your financial situation. While you want the best testimony to support your case, it’s also crucial to ensure that the costs are manageable and justified. Effective communication and collaboration between you, your attorney, and your medical expert are paramount here.
Other Legal Considerations
All discussions and documentation you share with the medical expert must remain confidential. Ensure that there’s a clear understanding of this aspect from the very beginning.
While your medical expert is a part of your team, you must understand and respect their independence. The judge, jury, and other side will be looking to this expert to provide objective opinions based solely on their medical knowledge and the facts of the case, without any undue influence from external parties, including you.
In August 2020, the Texas Supreme Court made several amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure, and the new rules introduced changes in expert disclosures, which now require more information than before.
Parties need to furnish details about and from their expert within set time frames before the discovery period ends. The rule has expanded the information required for any testifying expert, including comprehensive details about them, their qualifications, prior testimonies, and how much they are being compensated for on the given case.
There are other rules, as well, so it’s always essential to work with a legal expert who understands Texas courts and has access to qualified experts who can help you while meeting the court’s expectations for expert witnesses.
Factors that Can Impact the Weight of Medical Testimony
Consistency with the Other Evidence
If there are discrepancies between what the medical expert states and the other pieces of evidence, this can cast doubt on their credibility.
Expert’s Background and Qualifications
The qualifications of the medical expert and their background of expertise mean everything. All licensed medical professionals have a depth of knowledge in their field, of course, but those with more specialized training or recognition in their discipline are typically viewed as more authoritative.
Clarity of the Testimony
While a medical expert might be speaking from a wealth of knowledge, that testimony still needs to be clear and comprehensible to those without a medical background. Experts who can explain complex medical terms in a way that’s easily understood are usually viewed more favorably.
Previous Testimonies and Track Record
If the medical expert has a history of testifying in personal injury cases, their previous track record might come into play. If they’ve been consistent in their testimonies and have been recognized as a reliable source for past cases, this can work in their favor: and yours.
What About Discrepancies in Medical Testimonies?
It’s not uncommon for the defense to have their own medical expert who might provide a testimony that contradicts that of your expert. In these cases, your lawyer will work with your medical expert to provide the more convincing case. Sometimes, medical testimonies can be strengthened by additional evidence, such as diagnostic tests, medical images, or even testimonies from other nonmedical witnesses.
During cross-examination, your attorney can also question the opposing expert’s findings, qualifications, or even the methodology used to arrive at their conclusions. This can help to highlight any potential biases or inaccuracies in their testimony.
Contact a Huntsville, TX or Rockdale, TX Personal Injury Claim Legal Expert
If you need legal help to bring a personal injury claim, including access to medical experts who can show the extent of your injuries in a convincing way, reach out to Brian C. Gutierrez Personal Injury Trial Lawyer right away.