Houston, TX – Many medical procedures are complex, and they may require extensive explanation. When a doctor makes a mistake during a medical procedure, this may be even more difficult to explain to a jury, even when the seriousness of the injury is apparent. In a trial for medical malpractice, the plaintiff will often have to retain a doctor or other healthcare professional to provide these explanations to the jury. This is done through expert testimony.
There will normally be an inquiry to determine what mistakes were made by the doctor, and if they deviated from normal medical standards or a more general standard of care. Sometimes, this may require detailed explanations, and opinions about what went wrong from other doctors or hospital administrations who are familiar with the procedure in question.
What is an expert witness?
Expert witnesses are important in many trials because they can share detailed information and even give their own personal opinions to the jury based on the available evidence. Complex cases such as those related to medical procedures often rely much more heavily on expert testimony.
Not anyone can be called as a witness and talk to the jury in this manner. The rules of evidence prohibit normal witnesses from giving opinions or speculation. However, a witness who is qualified as an expert has much more leeway to speak freely with the jury about the issues of the case.
The process to qualify as an expert
Each state’s rules of evidence discuss what must be shown to the judge in a pre-trial hearing to qualify a witness as an expert. This may include specific education, experience in the field, publications, and prior trial testimony.
The Texas Rules of Evidence outline this procedure in Rules 701 through 703. A normal or lay witness can only present testimony related to their perceptions to help the jury understand facts relevant to the trial. However, expert witnesses can use their knowledge and experience to form opinions, explain technical knowledge and procedures, and help the jury understand the facts or determine certain issues.
Furthermore, the expert is allowed to base their opinion on any facts or data known to them, as long as experts in their field customarily use the same types of data and analysis. The underlying facts or data do not need to be admissible themselves for the expert to use them as a basis for their opinion.
How victims can get help with a malpractice case
Medical malpractice victims have the option of retaining a lawyer to force the physician or practice at fault to pay for their injuries and complications. Blizzard Law is an experienced firm in the Houston area that regularly assists people with lawsuits against negligent individuals in the medical profession.
Firm contact info:
5020 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006