What are the qualifications for an expert doctor to give a causation opinion (in Illinois or generally)? My surgeon does not want to get involved in the legal matter (gave no opinion). Can an internal medicine doctor review my records and write a causation narrative report if they are familiar with treating hernias? Or does it have to be a surgeon?
Yes. Illinois does not require a doctor to be a specialist to testify. However, a doctor's qualifications and expertise are relevant to the persuasiveness of an opinion. If the expert is not well qualified to give an opinion, you can count on the opposing attorneys to bring that to the attention of the jury.
Treating Physicians must testify within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the injury diagnosed was caused or contributed to be caused by the car accident. This standard for medical testimony is higher than more likely than not. A doctor bases his causation opinion on the history provided by the patient or records reviewed. Doctor is an expert if he or she is of the opinion that based upon their education, training and experience they are qualified to testify in this area. Please note this letter is not evidence without a deposition or live testimony in the car accident case. Discuss this with your accident attorney.
The short answer is yes if he has reviewed all the pertinent records including the surgical records. The surgeon, in my opinion, would be the better choice because he/she actually repaired the hernia. I would go back to the surgeon for one more try. If he will not, an internal doc is ok.
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