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Medical Malpractice FAQ: Why Do I Need a Medical Expert?

Medical malpractice claims are extremely technical. In most California medical negligence cases, we will retain a medical expert to review your case and testify at trial, if needed. Because malpractice cases often involve complex medical information and terminology, experts are needed to help explain what happened and establish that the doctor’s conduct was indeed negligent.

Specifically, the courts have come to recognize experts with experience, training and an understanding of the level of care associated with a particular medical procedure as being able to attest to or gauge the standard of care provided and whether any deviation caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Therefore, in most cases, medical experts will provide testimony in those two areas, both of which are key to the success of a medical malpractice case.

Did the physician adhere to the appropriate standard of care?

The medical expert will testify about what a competent doctor would have done if he or she were in the shoes of the defendant doctor. The expert will then provide his or her opinion regarding whether the defendant doctor satisfied that standard or care. The expert will likely rely on a number of outside sources, such as medical publications or medical board guidelines, to support his or her opinion regarding the standard of care.

Did the defendant’s negligent conduct injure the patient?

An expert must also testify about whether any deviation from the requisite standard of care harmed the patient. Doctors, of course, will argue that a number of factors may have contributed to the bad outcome, not their own failures. Accordingly, the expert is required to explain how likely it was that the physician's incompetence directly contributed to the harm.

Medical malpractice suits can be complex. At the Law Offices of Robert Vaage, we have the resources, including well-respected medical experts, to fully investigate every aspect of your case in order to prove that malpractice has occurred. If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a medical error, you may be entitled to compensation, including pain and suffering damages and reimbursement of medical expenses. To discuss your legal rights, please contact a San Diego medical malpractice lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.