Should You Offer Your Services as a Paid Clinical Expert?

Richard Cahill, JD, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Doctors Company

Healthcare practitioners frequently serve as independent experts in professional liability claims. You may be contacted by an attorney who asks you to review a case and render an opinion involving patient care provided by other medical, dental, or advanced practice clinicians. Counsel may also ask you to conduct a physical examination of a client injured in a personal injury matter—such as an automobile collision, industrial work accident, or products liability lawsuit.

Counsel may have obtained your name from another lawyer who is personally familiar with your professional reputation, your unflappability on the witness stand in an unrelated case, or from literature searches establishing your expertise in a particular area. Ascertaining how the attorney came to approach you at the outset of the engagement may help inform your decision about whether you should agree to participate. Whatever the source initiating the contact, consider the following points before deciding to act as an expert witness:

For further questions or assistance, please contact The Doctors Company Patient Safety and Risk Management Department at (800) 421-2368 or by email.

The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider considering the circumstances of the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

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