What level of certainty is required of your medical malpractice expert?
Experts on the stand define the certainty of their opinion in two similar but vastly different terms. These terms are “Possibly related” and “Probably related”. In context, they’re voiced about the relation of the injuries to the treating practitioner and whether the injuries are the result of negligence or deviation from the standard of care.
When experts write out their opinions and opine on causation, that opinion must be expressed in terms of “probability”. Words or phrases that convey the expert is “guessing” or is “not sure” of the correlation between the cause of injury to the negligence or deviation of standard of care will discredit the expert and make it difficult to persuade the jury to side with their opinion.
Other terms an expert might use relating an injury to a cause include terms like “consistent with”, “possible to occur”, “reasonable to say”, “is highly suggestive of”, or that “there might be a connection with”. However, these terms lack the strength to convince a jury that “more probable than not” the negligence or deviation in the standard of care is linked to the injury.
The job of the expert on the stand is to portray the causation of the injury to the jury in an easy-to-understand method and to speak this opinion with conviction. The jury will then decide the facts based on how certain they are in their ability to convey their opinion so it’s important to understand the impact of the words they choose.
Dr. Poppie founded Injury Reporting Consultants to help attorneys and insurance companies resolve personal injury cases through medical analysis and reporting. Injury Reporting Consultants is a collaborative team of dedicated medical professionals using their knowledge to ensure fair outcomes for all parties in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Recognized specialties include Motor Vehicle Collision, Life Care Planning, Medical Cost Projection, Functional Capacity Evaluation, Onsite Job Analysis, Functional Impairment and Disability, Workplace Injuries, Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Standards of Care, Current Best Practices, Physical Therapy Malpractice, Negligence, File and Medical Record Review, Improper Documentation, Expert Rebuttal Reports, and Expert Testimony.
If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org