In Ten Mistakes Attorneys Make Regarding Their Expert Witnesses, trauma medicine expert witness Barry Gustin, MD, MPH, FAAEP, writes:
Optimal expert witness management often makes the difference between successfully managing your case or undermining it. Over the years I have identified ten common mistakes attorneys make when hiring and managing experts. Any one of these mistakes can have significant consequences ranging from spending too much for your experts to losing your case. Here’s the list of ten:
Mistake 1: Preliminary Case Screening
Given the challenges associated with medical-legal cases, from the very beginning it is always prudent to hire an experienced medical-legal physician consultant to screen your case for merit whether you are for the plaintiff or defense. Hire a consulting expert immediately to help you understand the nature of your case, its issues, and its strengths and weaknesses. With a consulting physician, you retain the attorney/client privilege; their work is non-discoverable, and you are able to discuss the case more thoroughly, including case strategy. Your consultant will identify the medical issues, address standard of care, causation and damages, will identify the names of culpable people and entities, and will make a list of the necessary expert specialties to retain. This is an invaluable initial step in the pre-litigation process.