Facts and solid evidence are vital in a medical malpractice case. However, these cases can be challenging due to the level of complex medical knowledge and understanding involved.

It can be extremely difficult for a jury with little medical experience or knowledge to determine negligence in these cases. In order to help the jury understand more about how a doctor or other medical provider may have made a mistake that harmed the plaintiff, expert witnesses are often used.

These experts are respected in their field and usually have years of experience in their chosen field. When it comes to expert witnesses in a Poughkeepsie medical malpractice case, though, most malpractice attorneys prefer to use experts whose career is focused in one area—for instance, a urologist instead of a general practitioner, or a perinatologist instead of an obstetrician.

Principles of a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical professionals have a duty to provide competent medical care to their patients. When they do not, or when they provide negligent care in another manner which causes the patient to suffer harm, medical malpractice has occurred.

However, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the doctor breached the standard of care and that they have suffered damages as a result. Proving these points typically requires the expertise of a medical witness.

Role of the Medical Expert Witness

In general, the role of a medical malpractice expert witness is to help the defendant and the judge or jury understand how the medical malpractice act has affected the plaintiff in the short term, as well as how it may affect them in the long term. Expert witnesses in a Poughkeepsie medical malpractice case may also establish for the court what the normal medical standard of practice is. Standard practice is defined by the degree of care that a reasonably prudent physician would have exercised under normal circumstances.

Certificate of Merit

Signing certificates of merit is another responsibility that medical malpractice case expert witnesses in Poughkeepsie may have. Under New York Civil Practice Law & Rules §3012-a, when a plaintiff files a medical malpractice lawsuit, they are required to also file a certificate of merit.

This document helps deter frivolous or non-meritorious claims. If this certificate cannot be filed when the claim is filed, it must be filed within 90 days after the complaint is served to the defendant.

A certificate of merit declares that:

  • The plaintiff’s attorney has consulted with at least one physician—or sometimes another medical professional—who is licensed to practice in the United States
  • The lawyer “reasonably believes” the medical professional is knowledgeable regarding the medical issues pertaining to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims
  • Based on this review of the circumstances and in consultation with the medical expert, the attorney has determined that there exists a “reasonable basis” for the claim.

Expert Witnesses are Key in Poughkeepsie Medical Malpractice Cases

Expert witnesses in a Poughkeepsie medical malpractice case often have a key role in the outcome of the case. The plaintiff’s attorney usually relies on them to provide timely and accurate information in a manner that laypeople can understand.

Without such experts, it may be nearly impossible to win a case, as these witnesses help bridge the gap for everyone in the courtroom between the legalities of the case and its medical basis. A dedicated legal team may be able to provide an expert medical witness that could help your claim, so call today for a free case review.