What is a medical expert witness? A guide for clients
10 March 2020
Following an injury or accident, many people seek support from a solicitor to pursue a personal injury claim. Whatever the cause - from medical negligence to road traffic accidents – to give your claim the best chance of success in Court, the expertise of a medical expert witness is crucial.
Read the guide below, or download as a PDF to read, print or save.
Who are medical expert witnesses?
Medical expert witnesses are specialist doctors who have significant expertise in their field of medicine. They often balance their work as medical expert witnesses with their clinical work with patients in hospitals and clinics.
If you have had a spinal injury, for example, you are likely to have received expert care from spinal injury consultant specialists in hospital. An impartial medical expert witness, experienced in spinal injury, will be required to act as the independent expert in your case.
At NRC Medical Experts, our members all have at least 10 years’ experience and are considered ‘expert’ by their peers. This allows us to maintain our high-quality reputation for medico legal excellence in neurorehabilitation expert witness reports.
What do medical expert witnesses do?
The medical expert witness is tasked with assessing your injuries so they can produce an impartial report for the Court, who will take this into consideration when reviewing your legal case.
Expert witnesses visit clients, usually in their own homes but sometimes in a consulting room, to conduct a thorough consultation.
The consultation is likely to include an examination of the injury and a review of any medical notes available. The medico-legal expert will discuss the impact of the injury on a client’s life – considering the financial, physical, emotional and psychological and practical effects the injury has caused.
Following an injury or accident, people may be unable to work, some may be living with the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder from the event, and some people may be experiencing a change to their quality of life. Many expert witnesses prefer to meet clients in their own home, in order to see for themselves the adaptations and changes the individual has made in order to live as normal a life as possible following the injury.
The medico-legal expert will consider recommendations for rehabilitation and recovery and may also review the hours of care and rehabilitation already received by the client.
During the consultation, the medical expert witness will explore all the impacts and recommendations and make notes for their report.
What difference do medical expert witnesses make?
Medical expert witnesses are best placed to provide a fully impartial view for the benefit of the Court. They must be willing to confidently argue the validity of their recommendations in Court, responding to queries and defending their findings.
As legal cases most commonly take place some time after the injury or accident is sustained, the medical expert may sometimes reveal further issues or impacts which were not evident when you were undergoing treatment in your initial recovery phase. This is useful information both for the courts and for individuals, who may find this further clinical insight helpful.
What happens next?
After the consultation, the medical expert will produce a report which is passed to the solicitor.
The solicitor will then review the report in detail, raising any queries directly with the medical expert who wrote the report. It is likely that the solicitor will then pass this report to the client for approval.
Finding a trusted medical expert
A Google search will reveal many agencies and providers of medico-legal expertise. In fact, such a search may have brought you here to read this information today. When selecting a medico-legal expert, it’s important to remember that impact such an expert can have on your case, and choose carefully.
NRC Medical Experts are the UK’s only chambers specialising in neurorehabilitation. From brain and spinal injuries to stroke, neuropsychiatry, neuropsychology and brachial plexus injury, our experts are hand-picked and supported to provide you with the best experience in the UK.
Trusted by hundreds of solicitors and individuals to provide specialist medico-legal court reports and expert witness testimony, we’re the experts. When you choose us, you’re also choosing the best customer experience in the business - hassle-free every step of the way.
Solicitors and individuals are welcome to contact us to arrange a complimentary pre-instruction conversation, or a general discussion with our expert team.