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Types of Medical Professional Witnesses in Court

There
are various types of expert witnesses,
and their role in court depends on their specialty area. For instance, a court
case that mentions the nervous system will require an expert witness
specializing in neurology.

 

In
this post, we’ll discuss the common types of medical expert witnesses.

 

Let’s
dive in.

Who are Medical Expert Witnesses

A medical expert witness is a person who
has a deep knowledge of a
specific medical field. The expert can be a forensic
pathologist, anesthesiologist, or nephrologist.

 

The
expert undergoes rigorous specialized training and gets certification to begin
practicing as an expert witness.

Types of Medical Expert Witnesses in
Court

Medical
court cases are diverse and require a specialized expert witness to interpret
the presented issues. There are different types of medical experts based on
their specialty in the medical field.

 

The
variety of medical experts makes it difficult for jurors to decide on the
suitable expert they should invite. However, with a bit of understanding of
what each expert specializes in, they pick the most ideal for each specific
case.

 

Mainly,
the common types of medical expert witnesses include pathologists,
pediatricians, general medical, neurologists, doctors, and anesthetists.

1. Pathologists

Pathologists
specialize in the study of tissue, organs, and general systems to diagnose a
problem. They can be called to report their findings from the lab tests they
have conducted.

 

In
a court case involving death, a forensic pathologist is invited to analyze the
body tissues and unveil the cause of death.

2. Pediatricians

Pediatricians
specialize in the care of children from birth to 18 years old.

 

Certified
pediatricians specializing in medical-legal matters are required to give their
testimony for court cases involving children.

3. Neurologists

Neurologists
specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

 

In
a court case where an accident is suspected of having been caused due to
preexisting neurological conditions, a neurologist is required to offer a
specialized opinion about the cause of events that led to the accident.

4. General Practitioners

General
practitioners are physicians with expertise in many fields, and they can
perform routine checkups and other medical care.

 

They
can be called in court to testify about cases that require a general medical
opinion from an expert.

5. Certified Registered Nurse
Anesthetists

Anesthetists
are nurses who have specialized training in administering anesthesia for
surgery and other procedures.

 

In
court cases about medical malpractice involving the administration of
anesthesia, an anesthetic witness must give an impartial opinion to help the
judges conclude the matter. 

 

Other
medical practitioners whose input is crucial in court include gynecologists,
toxicologists, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, dentists, etc.

Types of Medical Court Cases

Some
of the standard court cases where the input of medical expert witness is
required include:

 

Medical malpractice claims. These include surgical errors,
injuries during the treatment process, and misdiagnosis, among others.

 

Personal injury. Accidents at work or car accidents
where the victim is not at fault.

 

Sexual assaults. Medical specialists will be
required to examine the patient to establish the extent of injuries inflicted.

 

Establishing the cause of death. Medical expert witnesses study
body tissues and analyze the lab test results to confirm the exact cause of
death.

The Role of Medical Experts in Court

Typically,
judges are not trained in medicine, and they only have basic knowledge of
medicine which is sufficient to conclude most medical court cases. Therefore,
they require the input of a specialized medical expert.

 

Expert
witnesses are required in court for several reasons. Based on the case’s
complexity, sometimes the medical expert witness performs medical tests and
prepares detailed reports.

 

The
following are the roles of expert witnesses.

 

Offer expert opinion in court. Medical expert witnesses can be
called to offer an opinion on a specific subject.

 

Explain and illustrate complex
medical terms
.
Medical experts may be called in to explain complex medical cases in detail to
the jury.

 

Testify. Sometimes the medical experts are
called to provide testimony about what they saw, heard, or felt. 

 

Impartial third party. Other times medical expert
witnesses are invited in court to serve as a neutral third party.

Conclusion

Based
on each case, qualified medical expert witnesses are needed to assess the level
and the exact cause of pain, injury, distress, or death and give an independent
opinion based on the findings.

 

Since
there are various types of expert
witnesses
, you need to understand the nature of the court case first so you
can use the information to find the right expert witness.

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