How Does Expert Witness Testimony Factor Into Medical Malpractice Claims?

Medical malpractice is a serious accusation and one that requires presenting as much evidence as possible in the situation to seek justice. One of the ways to provide that very valuable evidence is through the use of medical experts. Expert witness testimony like this can be used to help substantiate the claims of the victim and may help the judge and court to better understand what occurred and what should have occurred. Talk to a Portland medical malpractice lawyer from Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC today.

Who Are Expert Witnesses?

An expert witness is a person who has specific knowledge of the situation at hand, such as having in-depth knowledge of an illness or a license to practice medicine. This type of expertise gives them a unique view into what can and should be done in various medical situations. Expert witnesses can be used to support the claims of a person filing a medical malpractice case or to refute them, depending on who hired the individual.

Typically, to give medical expert testimony, a person must:

  • Be board-certified by the Oregon Medical Board
  • Have prior experience in this area
  • Must be a doctor, nurse, or other professional who is actively participating in medicine practice
  • Has teaching experience
  • Has prior experience writing affidavits of merit
  • Or those who may be published in a professional journal

How Does Expert Witness Testimony Contribute to the Claim?

There are various ways that the information provided by these parties may be helpful to a medical malpractice claim. There are two key areas to focus on to determine if medical malpractice occurred:

  • Did the defendant provide care that other doctors with the same training would have provided?
  • Did that lack of care or difference in care lead to the injuries to the patient?

Proving the Standards of Care Were Not Met

One of the first ways this type of testimony can support your claim occurs when the medical expert states what another doctor in the same situation would have done.

The medical expert is often relying on their own training and experience to make this decision. Ultimately, they must state that the doctor acted in a way that other medical providers in the same situation would not. If this can be done, it shows that the doctor did not provide the expected standard of care.


The second strategy is to use this testimony to prove that the doctor’s failure in some way was the cause of the patient’s injury. Proving causation that the failure of the doctor led to the loss is critical but very challenging to do without medical malpractice expert testimony. It is critical to understand the medication, procedures, and treatments applied and why the outcome occurred. The more information that the court has to understand this, the better.

Medical expert testimony is critical in showing that a medical professional did not provide the type and level of care expected. Most of the time, expert testimony is just one factor out of a wide range of other components of evidence used to prove that medical malpractice took place.