Finally, Medical Malpractice Expert Witnesses Getting Examined

Side Note: As a physician, you probably know that an “expert” (and we use the term lightly) witness can be found to support any accusation for a medical malpractice case. These physicians often use unethical tactics to sway juries and take down good doctors. I’m sure you know of an example or two. We here at Cunningham Group understand that no physician wants to utilize their medical malpractice insurance –especially if it comes at the hands of a questionable expert witness.

The good news is that there are many organizations currently taking action against these dubious career testifiers, according to the article below. The article mentions the actions of state medical boards and medical societies along with courts and state legislatures. Many medical boards and medical societies have drafted standards for appropriate expert witness testimony and taken action against experts who have violated these rules. And, the AMA recently approved a report defining model legislation for expert witnesses at their Annual June meeting.

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine has its own interesting way of dissuading its members from giving questionable testimony: the organization publishes it online. Since court documents are a matter of public records, it’s all legal.

Florida is the latest state to set new standards for testimony. As of July 1, any out-of-state medical expert must apply for a certificate to testify and he or she can be disciplined by the state medical board if he or she provides deceptive testimony. Thirty other states have similar laws –though they can vary. Some states require physician expert witnesses to practice, while others require that the expert witness practice in the same specialty as the defendant.

Finally, the courts have recently handed down a slew of decisions holding expert witnesses accountable for their testimony. See the article for the details of the cases.

Would you like to lower your medical malpractice insurance premiums? If so, Cunningham Group may be able to help. Contact us today to get your free quote request.

Expert witnesses on trial
By Alicia Gallegos
Posted: Aug. 1, 2011

StethoscopeThe ideal goal of an expert witness during testimony is to be “an indifferent advocate for the truth,” said neurosurgeon Jeffrey Segal, MD.

Too often, though, physicians make careers as such experts and use unethical tactics to sway jurors, said Dr. Segal, founder and CEO of Medical Justice, a company that sells medical liability insurance and provides legal resources to combat frivolous claims.

Read the Full Article

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