I am the plaintiff and I need to find a doctor that will be an expert witness in my personal injury lawsuit? How do I find a doc

Asked about 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

I want to make a settlement offer, there is a pending Mandatory Settlement Conference scheduled in March 2013. Will the doctor's expert opinion/testimony help me secure my offer. How do I find a doctor and what is the approximate costs?

Attorney answers (9)

  1. 14

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . These decisions have so many components and your settlement's outcome is very dependent on how you navigate these components that I strongly suggest consulting an attorney.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.
  2. 12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Just another reason to retain an attorney. Talk to your treating physician. If willing to testify, he/she can act as an expert if necessary. Best of luck.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which... more
  3. 11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I assume you are represented by counsel. If so, your counsel should assist in determining what type of medical expert is needed; the selection of same; and possibly the payment of the expert's fees. It is usually best to use your treating doctor, but sometimes that doctor may not want to testify or does not have the ability to present your case in the best possible manner. The selection of the correct expert is very important and costly and requires the advise and skill of an experienced trial attorney.

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  4. 12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An attorney can assist you. If you haven't secured one at this late stage you have made a big mistake. Call one ASAP


  5. 11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Don't play lawyer, retain one. Why sabotage your good claim?

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  6. 9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It depends on the type of doctor you need, orthopedic, neurologist, etc?

    Sagi Shaked is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. To schedule a free consultation, call (877)... more
  7. 7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In my expert legal opinion it would be reckless to be self-represented at this stage and, thus, I would not want to interfere with an existing attorney-client privilege nor ease the obligations of attorney and client alike to communicate meaningfully together. You may not have time to secure a meaningful expert medical opinion in time for the March M.S.C.

  8. 4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Though many personal injury attorneys handle medical malpractice cases, there are also many who avoid these matters due to the many difficulties. The California legislature has made the legal procedures and rules for medical malpractice cases different from other areas of negligence, and done so with a purpose – that purpose being protection of doctors... and while there are many who see protecting doctors as a bad thing, it is not in and of itself really so... some doctors should be protected while others should not get the extra legal shield afforded by law. Physicians provide an extremely valuable services to the public and one that requires an enormous amount of skill and brain power to provide correctly – all in a field which is not black and white science but science and art combined – lives are at stake, opinions vary, advancements in science abound and continually change the what standard care is, no two patients are alike, etc.

    Physicians are not held to a standard of perfection or even to the standard of being the best or even almost the best... They are held to the standard of care for their community and peers.

    In addition, medical malpractice cases are extremely expensive and difficult to bring (properly, that is... anyone can slam together an unintelligible complaint and pay the filing fee). To make a suit "worth it," there needs to be significant damages – and damages that would not have occurred otherwise. As a generalized example, a one month delay in treatment, that is just as effective one month later as it would have been earlier is not going to provide significant damages.

    As for wrangling medical experts, this is a topic on which entire books have been written and many a seminar has been given. There is always an “expert” who will say anything if paid enough. Selecting the right one is a skill in and of itself. After selecting one, an experienced medical malpractice attorney will then know exactly what should and should not be said as well as given and not be given to that expert (confidentiality rules may not apply). Preparing one’s expert(s) for deposition is another difficult skill – not to mention deposing the opposing expert(s).

    All of the above difficulties and more are taken on with the full knowledge of knowing that medical malpractice defense attorneys are not handling any other cases except medical malpractice. These are quite often, and almost without exception, very experienced defenders who know the medical malpractice field inside out – from court and arbitration procedures to having just enough medical knowledge to be dangerous to an untrained plaintiff.

    Ignoring all of my above post, anyone who even thinks he or she has a medical malpractice case should immediately consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Most of us offer free consultations, so there is nothing to fear in calling us. However, a word of caution to someone looking to hire a medical malpractice attorney after suit has been filed, many will shun such a case as it is like taking over the cooking of chili in a Texas chili contest after all of the ingredients are already in the pot.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
    Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
    Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
    980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
    Corona, CA 92879
    www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com

    "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."

    * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito... more
  9. 3

    Lawyers agree


    Answered . You should hire an attorney who handles personal injury cases to help you. Often, the doctor who treated you will be an expert in your case. However, there are situations where it might help if you hire a doctor specifically to evaluation your injuries to testify in the case. There are several factors involved such as time, costs, the type of injury, whether the treating doctor will testify, to name a few. In some cases it can be helpful to have a doctor perform an evaluation and impairment rating using AMA guidelines. Generally the treating doctors are not in a position to do that and you or your attorney would have to hire a doctor to do this evaluation and write a report. Good luck.

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Related Topics

Personal injury

If you suffer a personal injury as the result of the actions or negligence of another, you may seek financial compensation for physical or emotional damages.

Witness testimony and personal injuries

Witnesses to personal injury accidents may testify about them in court, or they can choose to provide a written statement of what they saw.

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