Expert Evidence in Medical Malpractice Legal Claims
Medical malpractice claims can be tricky, complicated, and time-consuming. We aren’t all doctors, so it becomes essential to have medical experts who can provide evidence and testify on the critical issues in your case.
In Canada, most physicians are members of the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). As a result, it can be challenging to find a doctor or other healthcare provider who is comfortable and willing to testify against their colleagues regarding the alleged claim of medical malpractice. For those who are specialists or subspecialists, it can be even more challenging because they are usually close and tight-knit professional communities.
Lawyers will work to find and select the appropriate medical expert for these types of claims. Often personal injury lawyers have good working relationships with doctors that they can turn to for an expert opinion. Even if a doctor cannot help the lawyer with their case, often they can refer the lawyer to another expert that can assist. It takes time for lawyers to build good working relationships with medical experts, so it is essential to have an experienced lawyer on your side!
The expert will review your file which is typically provided to them by your lawyer. They will meet with your lawyer to discuss the issues of your case and why the expert’s opinion was needed in the first place. Medical experts bring clarity to dense and complicated medical facts by writing detailed reports. They can speak to a variety of topics including what factors may have contributed to your injury, treatment options and errors in administering treatment, or the chain of command that existed where the injury occurred. Expert evidence is provided in a variety of forms; from an early-stage phone call with your lawyer, or serving as an expert at trial.
The ideal medical expert is one who is very dedicated to their work and who wants to uphold the integrity and honourability of the profession. This expert should be able to provide an objective and unbiased opinion of the case for either the plaintiff (typically the patient) or the defendant (usually the doctor or healthcare provider). The expert will be provided with all of the information on the case so that they can develop an objective and defensible opinion.
Unfortunately, certain medical experts can become known as “plaintiff-friendly” or “defendant-friendly”. This label means that one side or the other often hires the expert and they tend to speak to the same issues and come to similar conclusions in each case. Courts in Canada though have grown to find these experts less convincing because they aren’t viewed as objective, even if they have impressive credentials and have prepared an objective opinion on the case.
Questions about a medical malpractice claim?
We hope that this entry has given you some idea of the complexities of collecting evidence to support your medical malpractice claim. Need some help? Jeff Mitchell is an experienced personal injury lawyer dedicated to representing injury victims after an accident or injury. He has the resources and connections to strengthen your claim with the appropriate expert evidence. Call toll-free: 1-855-670-1345 or 902-702-3452.