Personal injury and medical negligence litigation is founded on a diagnosis of injury and a patient/clients prognosis. As a result, personal injury and med neg lawyers have an easier ‘road’ if they understand medical terminology and expertise including what expert/s are required for the case. Do you know what expert to brief in the case and even whether an expert report is necessary and will it add value? Experts can assist your case or alternatively harm it – do you know what your expert will do?
Firstly, as Practice Note CL 5 (Supreme Court NSW) states ” the court is concerned about the number of experts often expected to give evidence in personal injury cases. The practice of having a large number of experts qualified, both medical and otherwise, whose opinions may be overlapping and whose reports either are not used or are of little assistance to the Court when tendered, is costly, time consuming and productive of delay.” Practice Note SC Gen 10 deals with ‘Single Experts’
Therefore, knowing the circumstances in which it is best to brief an expert and what expert is the most appropriate, to ensure that expert adds value to the case and not a throw away cost and a cause of delay, is essential. For example:
- Your client is young man who had completed university and was injured in a MVA at age 22. He has diminished capacity to work, however, he has the capacity to work but has been unable to secure employment. Would expert evidence be useful? If so, what kind of expert? Would your opinion change if the client was 60 years of age when he had the accident?
- You have a client who went to her GP complaining of a breast lump and the GP ordered an ultrasound without any further testing for breast cancer. The client consulted with the GP again on a regular basis for two years and complained of a breast lump at which time the doctor sent her for an ultrasound again. She saw another GP a year later for nipple discharge, who organised cancer screening tests and she was found to have aggressive breast cancer with lymph node involvement. What type of expert/s are the most appropriate in this case?
- Your client has been injured in a car accident and as a result of the accident she suffered eye injuries and one of the symptoms is tunnel vision? What expert is best to brief?
- Your clients income from business continues to rise after an accident, but its alleged the increase would have been even greater, but for the accident. What expert would you brief, if at all?
- Look for moderate medical (and other) experts who are willing to be briefed by both sides and whose views are well respected.
- If the expert is to be cross examined, how ‘expert’ is he/she under pressure? That must be considered at the outset of the case
- If you are have an expert accepted in a tribunal, such as CARS (but not called), you would be more likely to consider the experts report writing skills i.e. are the findings in the report well argued and are his/her responses to competing views ‘expertly’ countered?
Sourcing experts that add value to your clients case can be a challenge and sourcing ‘experts’ outside the normal range of ‘expertise’ can be even more challenging. There are agencies such as Unisearch, Expert Experts or Experts Direct (which I don’t have any affiliation with) which can be a very expensive service, albeit necessary, unless you or your Counsel have specific medical experience or prior expert briefing experience.
If you are in need of a barrister and mediator who can assist your clients in medical negligence and personal injury matters, including recommending experts that ‘add value’ to their case, due to her 15 years of medical employment experience prior to law and legal acumen contact Louise on (02) 9336 5399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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