In order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, a certificate of consultation is normally required. In some states, it is called a testimony of validity or an affidavit of merit. State laws that regulate the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit and determine the eventual outcome can vary widely. The only way to determine with absolute certainty whether or not a patient is required to file a certificate of merit is to consult with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer.
Another important issue regarding the requirements for an expert witness is the jurisdiction of the case. The patient will be obligated to file his or her claim for medical negligence and abide by the statues and laws of the state where the incident of medical negligence occurred.
Certificate of Consultation
When doctors are attempting to treat a patient, they go through a series of very critical decisions based on exceedingly complex differential diagnosis processes that determine their methods for treatment.
It is not up to the patient or the medical malpractice lawyer to determine whether or not these treatments actually amount to negligence or are simply the results of unpreventable risks. Therefore, a patient and his or her lawyer will typically bring in a technically qualified outside opinion, usually through the testimony of a medical expert witness.
This medical expert witness can provide precise information on the crucial elements of a claim for medical malpractice as follows:
- A medical expert can testify whether or not the patient received the appropriate standards of case in their specific case.
- A medical expert will be able to identify when and where the expected standards of care were violated and how the negligence occurred during the patient’s treatment.
- Ultimately, a medical expert will give evidence about whether the violations of the normal standards of care and breach of medical procedures are responsible and are the cause for the damages suffered by the patient.
Expert Medical Witnesses
Some states require that a patient produce expert medical witness testimony before even permitting him or her to file a complaint or begin a lawsuit against a medical professional. In those states that do not require expert testimony prior to filing, a patient can sometimes win their case by meeting certain legal requirements with the testimony of a medical expert witness.
There are few exemptions to providing expert witnesses in most cases of medical malpractice. In some cases involving obviously flagrant negligence, a few states will permit the testimony of a reasonable layperson to establish the claim and not require the testimony of an expert witness. However, most states, in practice, still require the testimony of an expert witness.