We do not need to use medical expert witnesses in every personal injury case, but these experts can be useful, depending on the circumstances. The defendant might disagree with the extent of your injuries, the cause of the harm you suffered, or permanent impairment from the injury.
How to Know If You Will Need a Medical Expert in Your Personal Injury Case
Every case is different, so we cannot say whether you will need an expert witness in your personal injury case until we talk with you and investigate your situation. Sometimes we do not need an expert at the beginning of the case, but as things progress, the need for a medical expert can arise. For example, the defendant might contest some of the facts, and we might have to use an expert to prove the truth.
What to Do When the Defendant Claims That Your Are Overstating Your Injuries
If the defendant accuses you of exaggerating the extent of your injuries, we might have to call in an expert to establish how badly you got hurt. This situation tends to arise when a person sustains more severe injuries than one would expect from the intensity of the collision or event. If you’re wondering if you need a medical expert witness for your personal injury case, this could be one of those times.
Let’s say that a person suffered a whiplash injury after a minor fender-bender. Two years later, he was still complaining of debilitating neck pain. The defendant would likely argue that the patient is “making a mountain out of a molehill.” We might bring in a medical expert to explain that the plaintiff’s osteoarthritis and a previous neck injury made him more susceptible to chronic pain from the whiplash.
Underlying health conditions and prior injuries can interfere with typical healing processes. For example, any people who played contact sports in high school find themselves plagued with back and knee problems that make those body parts more injury-prone than one might expect. A person with diabetes might experience poor wound healing, causing an adverse outcome like amputation after an injury.
Georgia law does not limit an injured person’s money damages to the average amount for a given incident. This means you can recover for your actual injuries and losses, even if your unique circumstances exceed the typical situation.
What Can Happen When the Defendant Says the Accident Did Not Cause Your Injuries
A medical expert witness in your personal injury case can help when the defendant claims that the accident could not have caused your injury. The defendant might accuse you of faking your injury or of getting hurt from some other event and trying to blame the incident. Either way, sometimes a medical expert can explain to the judge how the accident could cause the harm you suffered. This situation tends to come up when a plaintiff does not get medical attention immediately after an accident.
How an Expert Can Help to Prove How the Harm You Suffered Affects Your Life
A defendant might contest the level of ongoing problems you have after getting hurt. For example, you might not be able to work for a living after sustaining a traumatic brain injury that affects your ability to maintain focus and remember how to perform multi-step tasks.
We can bring in a medical expert witness for your personal injury case to show the court how a head injury like yours can cause long-term or permanent cognitive impairment that affects a person’s ability to function on the job. Sometimes we dove-tail the medical expert with a vocational expert who can establish how that medical condition impacts your employability.
Using an Expert Witness in a Medical Malpractice Case
A medical malpractice lawsuit is a type of personal injury case. In medical malpractice cases, we can use medical experts to provide evidence that the healthcare provider’s conduct failed to meet the standard of competent medical services. This is another time you would need a medical expert witness for your personal injury case.
What We Have to Prove in a Personal Injury Case
We have to prove all of these elements to hold someone liable for your personal injury:
- The defendant had a duty of care. In a car accident case, the drivers have an obligation to operate their vehicles safely and obey the traffic laws.
- The defendant breached the duty of care. It is negligence when someone fails to live up to the applicable duty of care. For example, a driver can be negligent if he drives too fast for the conditions on an icy road in the north Georgia mountains.
- The negligence caused the accident that hurt you. If the defendant lost control of his car and collided with another vehicle because he was carelessly driving too fast for the road conditions, the facts satisfy the causation element of liability.
- The plaintiff sustained quantifiable harm. Physical injuries satisfy this factor. A medical expert might get called in to testify about this fourth element.
Getting Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Case
At S. Burke Law, we help people who get hurt because of the carelessness of others. We treat our clients like family. Call us today at (404) 842-7838 to get started. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.