The Battle of Experts in Oregon Medical Malpractice Cases

In medical malpractice lawsuits, expert testimony is vital to both the prosecution and the defense. The scientific facts and medical jargon are typically too difficult to interpret for individuals who don’t work in healthcare.

Before a medical expert testifies in a medical malpractice lawsuit, they will examine:

  • Whether the physician being sued acted based on the standard of care and how other competent doctors would have acted in the same scenario
  • Whether a healthcare provider’s failure to perform the standard of care directly contributed to the patient’s injuries

Expert medical opinion usually pertains to issues regarding the standard of care and in which way(s) it was breached. Expert testimony is based on the qualified person’s review of medical records as well as the patient’s current clinical state.

Who is Qualified to Provide Medical Expert Testimony?

If a malpractice claim involves general medicine, a wide range of general practitioners and medical professionals may qualify to be expert witnesses. However, when a malpractice case involves negligence within a specific medical field, a specialist is typically required to provide expert testimony.

Specialists are considered experts based on their education, medical practice, and board certifications. Oregon Revised Statutes section 40.410 states if “scientific, technical, or other special knowledge” can “assist the trier of fact”, an expert witness may provide their official opinion regarding of the standard of care, medical liability, and damages.

Medical Expert Testimony for Medical Malpractice Jury Trials

In addition to testifying about how a normal, competent physician should have behaved under the circumstances, a medical expert will provide an opinion as to whether the physician (or nurse or hospital) being sued met the standard of care. Rules and conceptions regarding the standard of care will vary among different medical specialties. Expert testimony may rely on medical publications or board guidelines in order to clarify standards of medical practice. The jury in a medical malpractice trial does not have to accept the expert’s opinion or provided publications as the final word in its verdict.

A medical expert’s testimony will also explain how the deviation from the standard of care led to the patient’s injury. The expert will take several factors into account regarding the scenario in which the injury occurred and consider whether the practitioner’s negligence was a direct cause of the damages.

The attorneys at Miller & Wagner have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through every step of a medical malpractice claim. For more information regarding medical negligence trials, contact us today.