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How Do I Become a Medical Malpractice Expert?

Article Details
  • Written By: Terrie Brockmann
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Often, the first step to becoming a medical malpractice expert is to consult books, such as how-to books written by expert witnesses, and other resources to determine details about the job. Many times these sources may help you set goals to help you qualify for this lucrative career. One of the tips that experts tell their followers is that a successful medical malpractice expert needs to project an impression of authority to the judge and jury. Experts regularly advise that people who are eligible to be expert witnesses need to learn to effectively market themselves as experts.

To become a medical malpractice expert, you need to learn to be comfortable in a court setting. This includes being able to handle the stress of being cross-examined by the opposing counsel. It is also important that you are able to accept advice, especially from legal counsel. This may concern your testimony wording, your appearance, or other behaviors that may be pertinent. Sometimes you can learn to be a better witness by watching a training videotape.

Many positions in the medical field qualify a person to become a medical malpractice expert. Most people believe that only doctors or people in similar positions are the only workers who are qualified, but this is not accurate. Some of the professions of medical malpractice experts include nurses, administrators, and paramedic technicians. Therapists, such as those involved in respiratory care and physical rehabilitation, frequently testify.

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You can become a medical malpractice expert if you are non-medical personnel but work in the medical field. Some examples of those qualified to do this include financial auditors for insurance or government programs, medical coders, and administration workers. Frequently, people who work in emergency services, such as ambulance emergency transport, emergency flight crew, and paramedic services, can serve as experts, and you may qualify as a medical malpractice expert if you are an emergency medical worker and can market yourself well.

You should research what the local government or governing institution requires, such as certification or licensing. In some regions, the government licenses medical malpractice experts. This is because experts may influence the jurors, and expert testimony is important to establish the viability of the lawsuit. Qualifications usually vary from country to country and region to region.

Malpractice cases are torts, or civil wrongful acts, for which the injured person can seek compensation for damages. In many governments, including some U.S. states, expert testimony is a legal requirement. The reasoning is that a layperson generally does not possess sufficient knowledge to understand the legality of the case. The expert witness's task is to explain the situation in lay terms by answering the questions of the attorneys. Often legal firms seek witnesses who can answer the questions simply.

Most people who want to become a medical malpractice expert have some college education. This may not be necessary in some fields, such as in emergency response teams where certifications and licenses determine eligibility. Often people have a minimum of a bachelor of science or a similar degree. Some law firms prefer an expert witness to have a degree like a master's degree or better, especially a doctorate of science or medicine.

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