In Preparing an Expert Witness for Direct Examination: Time for a Pep Talk, medical expert witness Burton Bentley II, M.D., FAAEM, ELITE MEDICAL EXPERTS, LLC, writes:
Take time to establish the expert’s role within the framework of the case. Remind the expert that he or she is an impartial commentator. His or her loyalty is to the court thus obligating the expert to render honest and unbiased opinions. The expert is neither the accuser nor is he or she responsible for the events that have transpired. The expert alone will not determine the destiny of either party. Rather, the expert will educate and inform the trier of fact in the hope that justice will prevail. While an expert never should advocate opinions with which he or she disagrees, the expert must skillfully articulate and defend the positions that they have already professed. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. A compelling expert must exhibit resiliency in the face of tough questioning and remain steadfast in the opinions that they offer. Remind the expert to rely on competent training and years of professional experience. Those strengths are the key to rendering deliberate and assured testimony based soundly upon the medical facts.
Work with the expert to hone their confidence and build their presentation skills. Time spent with a good pep talk — really a “prep-talk” — will be time well spent.
© 2012 Burton Bentley II, M.D., FAAEM ELITE MEDICAL EXPERTS
Dr. Bentley is a practicing physician and CEO of ELITE MEDICAL EXPERTS, LLC.
ELITE secures top-tier expert witnesses by working exclusively with physicians and surgeons from the nation’s leading universities. Learn more about ELITE at www.EliteMedicalExperts.com