Medical Expert Witness: protect your credibility as an expert witness

February 1, 2008

If you serve as an expert witness, your credibility is the key to any case.

If you serve as an expert witness, your credibility is the key to any case. But beware of some pitfalls: An increasing number of trial lawyers are using listservs to find and vet potential expert witnesses for malpractice cases. They ask other attorneys to comment-good and bad-on potential medical expert witnesses, and provide references to and fees required of the medical experts whom they've used.

But that's not the only way attorneys are using expert witnesses, according to Lewis Laska, JD, PhD, publisher of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. He wrote in Medical Liability Monitor (11/2007) that some plaintiffs' attorneys are looking for experts that a defense attorney uses frequently. By retaining a former medical expert witness of the defense attorney, the plaintiff can gain the upper hand: Any attack on the plaintiff's expert witness could be rebuffed by noting that the defense had used this witness before and, therefore, must trust that expert's testimony.