In How Attorneys Can Best Utilize Their Medical Expert Witness: A Medical Expert’s Perspective, Dr. Vernon M. Neppe MD, PhD, FRSSAf, FAPA, writes that expert witness testimony depends on finding an appropriate match for your case. This excerpt deals with credibility of your expert.
Choices are complicated by knowing that a credible expert will express an honest opinion. This may lead to the expert expressing an opinion that is unfavorable to the particular case. However, this may not be a disadvantage. The key is knowing your case’s strengths and limitations.
You should respect your expert’s thoughts. (S)He is generally trying to assist you, and his / her adverse opinion usually is well founded. If the expert’s opinion is entirely adverse, this may be a reason not to declare him / her further and find another expert provided a gray zone of opinion legitimately exists for that issue. On the other hand, it may be a strong clue, unless there are other cogent circumstances, to cut one’s losses and to settle the case or not bring it to trial or even not to file it.
More to follow on assisting civil litigation attorneys with medical experts from Dr. Neppe, Director, Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute, Seattle, WA, www.brainvoyage.com.