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Medical malpractice and expert witnesses

Taking legal action against a negligent medical professional or hospital can be one way to pursue damages suffered as the result of medical malpractice. However, before a victim can recover the compensation to which he or she is entitled, he or she will have to prove that the defendant was in fact negligent and that negligence caused the victim's harm. This may sound easy enough, but in the complex scientific world of medicine there can be many disagreements and the issues may be well-beyond the average person, requiring expert testimony.

In order for an individual to render an expert opinion during a trial, though, certain elements must be met. Under Florida law, an individual must be qualified as an expert by evidencing his or her knowledge, experience, skill, and/or training in the relevant field. Once qualified as an expert, a witness may be able to give an opinion so long as that opinion is related to the evidence at trial and will assist the judge and/or jury with understanding evidence or addressing the issue in question.

Expert witnesses can be powerful in medical malpractice trials, but they can also be harmful when put on the stand by the other side. Therefore, those proceeding with litigation need to know how to find individuals whom a court will deem expert and how to utilize their expertise to their advantage. On the other hand, a plaintiff has to know how to attack the credibility of the defendant's expert witnesses to protect their claim.

To learn more about expert witnesses and how to properly use them, Floridians who have been victimized by hospital negligence may want to consider speaking with a legal professional. Then, armed with the knowledge they need, victims can choose the best way to proceed from there.

Source: Florida Senate, "90.702," accessed on Sep. 2, 2016

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