In most states, medical malpractice cases require testimony from a medical expert.  In the state of Delaware, the medical expert’s testimony is submitted in the Affidavit of Merit which must be filed in court with the original complaint, when initiating the lawsuit.

A medical expert will address two questions central to any medical malpractice case:

  • Did the doctor follow the standard of care for a doctor in the same position?
  • Did the doctor’s failure to follow the standard of care injure the patient?

The term standard of care means, the level of care that a reasonable, competent doctor would have given in the situation at issue in the case.  The expert witness will give testimony as to whether the doctor being sued administered that standard of care.  If the expert witness testifies that the doctor did not live up to the standard of care, he must also testify that the negligence of the doctor more than likely caused the patient’s injury.

It varies from state to state who may testify as a medical expert.  If the case involves malpractice within a specialized field, it is wise to find an expert witness within that field.  In the case of general medicine, a wider range of doctors who have the experience and training necessary to qualify as expert witnesses are available.

Medical malpractice law is highly regulated by a complex body of rules that vary from state to state.  It is essential to get advice from a lawyer who is highly trained in medical malpractice.

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