Understanding the Role of Medical Experts in Georgia Malpractice Cases

Dressie Law Firm: Guiding You Through the Role of Medical Experts in Georgia Malpractice Cases

Discover the crucial role of medical experts in Georgia malpractice cases, providing vital insights and testimony to support legal proceedings and outcomes.

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What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s negligence results in harm, injury, or death to a patient. This can include failure to diagnose, incorrect treatment, medication errors, etc. To prove medical malpractice, it must be shown that the healthcare provider breached their duty of care to the patient and that this breach directly caused harm or injury.

The Need for Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Claims

Proving medical malpractice is complex and challenging, requiring extensive legal knowledge and resources. It is not enough to simply claim that medical malpractice occurred; it must be proven through evidence and expert testimony. This is where the role of medical experts becomes crucial in Georgia malpractice cases.

    In a Georgia medical malpractice claim, victims must file an expert affidavit, also known as a sworn expert witness testimony. The affidavit must explain how the defendant’s healthcare provider deviated from the established standard of care and caused your injuries.

    Georgia’s medical malpractice laws require specific qualifications for expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases. For example, to qualify, one must practice in the same field as the defendant and demonstrate education, training, and expertise in the field.

    Do you have a medical malpractice lawsuit? Dressie Law Firm is here for you. Our empathetic attorneys are well-versed in Georgia law and medical malpractice lawsuits. We can help you present a strong case and recover maximum compensation.

    Schedule a free consultation with our Atlanta medical malpractice attorney today.

      Who Qualifies as a Medical Expert?

      Your expert witness must have a similar professional background as the defendant. For instance, if you bring a lawsuit against a gynecologist, the medical professional providing your affidavit must also be a gynecologist.

      It’s important to note that expert witnesses aren’t limited to current practitioners. Retired professionals who meet all the requirements can provide valuable testimony. In Georgia medical malpractice cases, the key requirements for expert witnesses center around their training and educational background in the relevant field, regardless of their current practicing status.

      In the case of Dubois vs. Brantley (2015), the Georgia Supreme Court was tasked with interpreting the criteria for qualifying an expert under OCGA §24-7-702. The court outlined the following specific requirements to determine the eligibility of an expert witness in a medical malpractice action:

      1. Practical knowledge and experience: The expert must possess practical knowledge and experience acquired through active practice or teaching within the last five years.
      2. Consistent engagement: The expert should have been regularly engaged in the active practice of the relevant area or specialty, with sufficient frequency to establish a credible level of knowledge.
      3. Procedure, diagnosis, or treatment: The expertise must extend to performing the procedure, diagnosing the condition, or rendering the treatment alleged to have been negligently performed or rendered in the case under consideration.

      For personalized guidance on navigating medical malpractice cases and ensuring adherence to the medical expert witness criteria, consult our Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at Dressie Law Firm today.

      The Vital Role of Medical Experts in Medical Malpractice Claims

      In Georgia law, expert opinions wield significant influence in shaping court decisions, particularly in the context of medical malpractice cases. Their role is crucial in helping the jury comprehend complex and technical information inherent in medical malpractice cases. A medical expert’s testimony serves as a bridge, translating complex medical details into understandable terms for the jury, thereby aiding them in forming informed decisions.

      Many clients approach us asking, “What does a patient have to prove in a medical malpractice case?” We often summarize the burden of proof in two points:

      1. The medical professional breached the duty of care and deviated from the established standards.
      2. The medical professional’s failure to comply with this standard of care resulted in the plaintiff’s injury.

      One vital way to establish these points is through an expert witness. Here’s how:

      Standard of Care

      To determine if the defendant met the prescribed standard of care, the medical expert provides testimony on what actions a competent doctor would have taken in similar circumstances. Similarly, in assessing whether the medical professional’s medical negligence caused your injury, the expert may discuss potential outcomes had the standard of care been diligently fulfilled.

      Medical Procedures and Protocols

      Medical experts assess whether the medical professional adhered to established protocols, identifying any deviations that may have occurred. A thorough review of the relevant medical records usually makes this possible.

      Causation

      A common defense tactic in medical malpractice lawsuits is claiming that the plaintiff’s injury did not result from the defendant healthcare provider’s actions. A qualified medical expert can assess your case and clarify that your injuries are indeed a result of the defendant’s negligent or substandard treatment.

      What Is the Rule 702 in Georgia?

      Rule 702 in Georgia isn’t exactly a rule, but it refers to a section of the Georgia Code that deals with expert witness testimony in court. The official title is Georgia Code § 24-7-702.

      This code section outlines the criteria for when an expert’s testimony can be admitted in court. It states that a witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

      1. The testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data.
      2. The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods.
      3. The witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

      In simple terms, this code section means that any medical expert witness must have the necessary qualifications, use reliable methods, and apply them accurately to the specifics of the case at hand before their testimony can be considered valid and admissible in court.

        How to Find a Qualified Medical Expert for Your Medical Malpractice Claim?

        Finding a qualified medical expert witness for a medical malpractice case may not be easy. You’ll want to vet their credentials and experience, do background checks, and ensure they are competent by legal standards. Here are some ways that can help you speed up the search:

        1. Identify relevant specialization: Determine the medical specialty related to your malpractice claim. Look for experts who specialize in the same field as the healthcare professional involved.
        2. Review credentials: Ensure the expert witness has relevant qualifications, experience, and training in the specific medical area. Check for board certifications and their history of serving as an expert witness.
        3. Legal requirements: Adhere to the legal requirements for expert witnesses in Georgia. Remember, among other things, they must be licensed to practice in the state and have practiced in a similar field within the last five years.
        4. Check experience as a witness: Decide whether the expert you want must have experience as a court witness. If yes, assess the expert’s history of testifying in court and the outcome of such testimony.
        5. Consult an attorney: A medical malpractice attorney with experience handling claims similar to yours will have access to a network of medical professionals who check all the boxes.

        Contact Dressie Law Firm for Experienced Support

        Dressie Law Firm is the go-to choice for thousands of Georgians across the state. With a wealth of experience handling complex medical malpractice cases and successive victories, our firm has demonstrated its unwavering dedication, diligence, and resilience.

        Our attorneys are readily available to help you build a solid case with the right medical expert. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer.

        The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

        If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

        Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!