How Do I Become a Medical Expert Witness?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2019
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    Conjecture Corporation
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In order to become an medical expert witness, it is important to have a blend of excellent credentials, an established reputation, and an appreciation for medicine in context of the law. Medical expert witnesses also must be clear and concise communicators, and know how to answer lawyers' questions in an appropriate manner. A person seeking to become a medical expert witness may also attend special expert witness training courses and seminars, in order to become better prepared for the requirements of the position. Finally, a qualified professional who wants to become a medical expert witness will need to advertise his or her services through appropriate channels.

The first requirement necessary to become a medical expert is extensive medical training. Many medical expert witnesses are advanced professionals in their field, with a list of excellent training credentials. An expert witness can come from nearly any medical specialty, from emergency medicine to neurology. In addition to a standard medical degree and license, it may be important to take fellowships and specialty training courses to help prepare to become a medical expert witness.


A credentialed and licensed physician or specialist may be in a good position to become a medical expert witness, but he or she must also take care to maintain an excellent professional reputation. A history of malpractice or disciplinary issues, evidence of drug or alcohol abuse, or any past run-ins with the law may all be used to discredit an expert witness, even if indiscretions have little or nothing to do with the case. An expert witness will be more valuable if he or she has a relatively unimpeachable reputation, and is thus more likely to get more work. In addition to avoiding bad behavior, it is important to establish a positive professional reputation through continued education, publications, and other valuable medical work.

Lawyers are noteworthy for being able to manipulate language, meaning that a medical expert witness must be able to speak clearly to avoid manipulation. Answering questions with a depth and breadth appropriate to a courtroom is an acquired skill, but one worth cultivating for any doctor seeking to become a medical expert witness. How facts and findings are presented may be nearly as important as their substance; a medical expert who is able to clearly communicate his or her findings in a way that leaves no wiggle room can be a valuable asset to a legal team. Taking expert witness training courses can help medical professionals prepare findings both orally and in written form to best suit a courtroom situation.

Since expert witnesses are usually paid for their work, it is important to approach becoming a medical expert witness as a business or career move. Professionals entering this field may need to call upon contacts in the legal field for assistance in promoting their services. Some experts suggest trying to build relationships with lawyers or court clerks in order to increase opportunities for employment.



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