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Can any doctor (internist) give an expert narrative opinion that a patients car accident more likely than not caused a hernia?

Chicago, IL |

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?

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Attorney answers 6



If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links:

Charles Joseph Michael Candiano

Charles Joseph Michael Candiano


The Treating physician is always going to be the most credible. It is very difficult to prove causation with hernias. If you have another internist who understands your mechanism of injury and is willing to assert that the hernia was causally related to the accident, it absolutely does help you.


Any doctor can, however, the evidentiary value of the doctors testimony on the issue might not be as pursuasive as another doctor who may be seen to have a greater understanding of trauma related hernias. Check with a medical malpractice attorney in your area.


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.

Though we strive to provide accurate legal information in our answers on AVVO, our answer should not be construed as legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our firm only forms attorney-client relationships by written agreement signed by both our firm and the client. Please seek an in-person consultation with an attorney immediately as almost all legal matters are time sensitive and failing to meet deadlines can result in adverse consequences.


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.

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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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