The Role of Experts in Catastrophic Personal Injury Lawsuits
Posted August 1, 2023
As an attorney who handles catastrophic personal injury cases, I know the crucial role experts play in the success or failure of such matters. In fact, having the right (or wrong) experts can make or break a case. When working with clients, I often must explain the need to invest time and money in retaining the best qualified experts during discovery, negotiations, and at trial. The following are a few reasons for bringing experts into a case.
Expertise & Knowledge
Depending on the nature of the case, we work with experts with knowledge and expertise in the specific fields related to the case. For example, we may need experts with in-depth understanding and experience in areas such as medicine, engineering, accident reconstruction, forensics, weather, or other relevant disciplines. Our experts analyze complex information, interpret technical data, and provide professional opinions regarding the issues involved in the case. Additionally, it is critical to find and retain an expert who has proven success in trial. Typically, we use the same experts who were successful in other trials.
Determining and Maximizing Damages
Experts can help us determine and quantify damages to our client. For instance, in personal injury cases, experts can evaluate the physical, emotional, or financial harm caused by the accident or incident. And in medical malpractice cases, they can determine the long-term effects of medical errors, estimate future medical expenses, and evaluate the impact on the plaintiff’s quality of life. Again, experts help us to accurately determine the amount of compensation that our clients deserve.
Professional Malpractice – Cases Standards of Care
Medical, legal, financial, and other professionals are bound to practice through “standards of care.” For example, doctors and other healthcare providers must follow accepted guidelines, practices, and protocols when treating patients. In medical malpractice cases, experts evaluate whether the medical professional’s actions met the standard of care expected in their field. In other words, experts can determine if a healthcare provider deviated from the accepted norms, breached their duty of care, and whether this breach caused harm or injury to the client. Their expertise, and related testimony, helps establish negligence or medical malpractice, which is crucial in such cases.
Counter to Defense Experts
In most cases, the defense will use their own experts. Not surprisingly, their experts will have differing opinions than our experts. Therefore, our experts can challenge the defense’s expert in a variety of ways including highlighting flaws in methodology, questioning the validity of the data or conclusions, and presenting alternative interpretations. This back-and-forth between experts helps judges and juries evaluate conflicting opinions and make an informed decision.
Credibility with the Judge & Jury
Through their professional qualifications, education, experience, reputation, and testimony, our experts are often seen as objective and reliable sources of information by the judge and jury. Plus, because personal injury and medical malpractice cases often involve complicated medical procedures, technical details, convoluted jargon, and complex legal principles, good experts can simplify these complexities by explaining them in understandable terms for the layperson.
Our firm utilizes special software which allows us to identify other trials where the defense’s experts had testified, and if their opinions were different on another case, we can use their use their prior testimony to impeach their credibility.
We recently successfully handled a multi-million-dollar Wrongful Death case in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania involving the misdiagnosis of a blood clot. Tragically, the misdiagnosis led to the premature death of a young man. On behalf of the client’s family, we retained some of the most well-respected medical experts in their respective fields to prove our case. These experts included:
- A radiologist who opined that the patient’s ultra-sound was misinterpreted.
- A vascular specialist opined that if the blood clot was properly diagnosed, medication and possible surgery could have been done to remove the clot from his calf and most likely would have saved his life.
- A forensic pathologist who opined as to the client’s conscious pain and suffering prior to his tragic death.
- An economist who provided statistical evidence as to the financial loss of support for his wife and three children.
Overall, experts in medical malpractice and personal injury cases provide invaluable insights, analysis, and opinions based on their specialized knowledge and experience. Their role is essential to ensure a fair and accurate assessment of the facts, helping the judge and jury to reach a just outcome.
For complex cases, you want an experienced team – one with trial experience, one that knows how to deal with insurance companies, and one with a proven track record of success. Plus, your team must have the resources to take the case all the way to trial if necessary. These resources include a deep bench of lawyers and the ability to retain the most qualified experts and investigators.
If you have any questions or need help, please contact me. I will listen to your situation and offer an honest opinion about your case.
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