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How do med malpractice lawyers ensure that the medical experts they employ are accurate- i.e. not making a mistake?

Pembroke Pines, FL |

Because no one can know everything. And there is alot of false information out there- it is perpetuated by the hierarchy established in internship, a resident may say something that gets passed down for years to many doctors even though factually it is inaccurate.

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Attorney answers 6


A good lawyer will know who the best experts are. For example, I paid 40k for a two paragraph expert pediatric neurologist for a cerebral palsy case. Luckily, I recovered 4.2 mil for the client.

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That's a tough question to answer. All lawyers have stories to tell about experts, good and bad.
Whole libraries have been written addressing the subject of expert opinion. Different experts may have honestly different opinions. Some are very...flexible. Some experts run up huge bills because they can get away with it. Others charge relatively little and are more credible. Depending on the question at hand, a lawyer must try to make sure his own experts learn the facts of the case throughly. A lawyer should always have a total command of all the issues in a case to aid in cross-examining opposing experts and to make sure he doesn't get ambushed by his own expert's ignorance. Experts are often more vulnerable when they lack command of the facts in the case than when they state opinions that are scientifically unsound. But, opinions can be challenged in court for being scientifically unsound. And, I can't resist saying that I would not boast about how much I had to pay an expert. I am willing to pay an expert for his or her time, and some charge a lot. Others go over the line into sheer greed.

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Agree with counsel that the attorney needs to know the medicine and issues involved. Further, the lawyer must make sure that the expert is aware of all the facts, particularly those which may present problems in the case.

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My response is slightly different. Experienced med negligence attorneys have likely had cases similar to the one walking in the door in the past. So many attorneys know what the issues are before shipping them out to experts. We learn new twists on issues and new medicine with each case, but almost 'nothing' is brand new MOST of the time. On the occasions that it is, attorneys need to be careful that they are not 'sold' on a case by an overzealous expert. We use common sense and sometimes more than one expert to look over a case which when we are totally unfamilar with the issue. It costs us a bit more, but in the long run, our education on the medicine is what guides us to win, settle, or walk away from claims. We need to know if there was negligence, not just whether or not we can hire someone to say that there was. At least I do.

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It is not the job of a lawyer to "ensure that the medical experts they employ are accurate." The issue is a matter of advocacy, not "truth." (But, presenting false testimony is of course always prohibited). "Truth" is whatever the jury says it is.

So, a lawyer will screen the case with an appropriate expert who will give an opinion based on the observed facts, expertise, review of literature and the like. The lawyer sould not select an expert who is an advocate, because the expert will not be credible, and the case will be lost. A lawyer should select an expert who has credentials, will fully analyze the matter and who will be believable.

If the expert supports a case of liability, the lawyer should consider pusuing the case. (There are other considerations, such as level of damages and whether a judgment can be recovered). If the expert in screening, says there is no case, this is not binding on the lawyer (or even admissible in court). If the expert says there is no case, the lawyer has to decide whether to get another expert or concede.

Keep in mind, that if the matter is truly arguable, a lawyer will be able to find experts on all sides of the argument.

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Hmm...that sounds logical; yes and I can see how that would fit into the whole framework; and then the flow would naturally progress downward simply aided by gravity; yeah, that all sound right.....

Oh, sorry, I was watching something on the DIY channel about plumbing. I think I'm going to put a new bathroom in the my beachhouse myself, but I think a lot of bad information exists out there. How do I know that the experts on DIY know what they are talking about? A lot of bad information exists in home depot and gets handed down from one guy wearing an orange apron to another three or four younger guys also wearing orange aprons and then some dolt like me walks in who doesn't known a 2X4 from a burrito, which would explain a lot about my recent out of constipation, but in any event, yeah...makes sense.


(PSSST....did this guy get a lousy MCAT score or did a resident tell him when he was an intern that an endoscopy was performed via visual examination of the lower bowel...WITH YOUR OWN EYES, WHEN TWO RESIDENTS SHOVED REALLY, REALLY HARD AND THEN....

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