An expert medical witness is a physician qualified, by reason of his skill, knowledge, education, experience, or training to testify on a particular medical area. He is a person who has knowledge about the medical and health care profession, beyond that of an average person.
A qualified medical expert witness can offer an opinion about the medical issue related to the case. The opinion is generally rendered during the discovery stage of trial. As a general rule, witnesses are not allowed to offer opinions about the facts at hand. However, medical expert opinions are an exception to this general rule.
Medical expert witnesses are frequently called to testify in civil and criminal cases. They often testify in cases relating to worker’s compensation, abortion, medical malpractice, and compensation and pension claims. Additionally, they may be hired to testify at arbitration, mediation, or negotiation proceedings.
A person can testify as a medical expert only after his/her credentials is established before the court. An attorney can establish the credentials of the medical expert by asking the witness questions about his or her education, training, skills, and experience within a particular field. Once the required qualifications for a expert witness status has been established, a judge will qualify the witness as an expert. Most expert witnesses must be paid to testify on behalf of one of the parties. There may be more than one medical expert witness in a case.