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A medical expert witness is typically a physician, nurse, or other healthcare provider who is called upon to evaluate the merits of a medical malpractice case and provide evidence in the form of testimony, reports, affidavits and the like. The opinion of a medical expert witness and how it is presented can make or break your case, so great care must be taken in reviewing the credentials of expert candidates.

lawyer consulting with medical expert witness

Factors to consider when selecting a medical expert witness

Is the medical expert witness board-certified?

It’s essential to retain a medical expert witness who is actively practicing and board-certified in their area of practice. Make sure that their credentials and certifications are top-notch. Make sure that their area of expertise aligns with the subject area for which they are being called on to give an opinion.  Board certification is a mark of distinction for a physician and indicates that he or she has gone above and beyond the minimum standards for competency in a chosen field.

Has the medical expert witness testified before?

Many attorneys prefer to retain medical expert witnesses that have a considerable amount of deposition and trial testimony experience.  However, there are a good number of attorneys who appreciate working with a highly qualified medical expert witness who has not testified or has only a small amount of experience in the hot seat.  The more an expert has testified, the more likely opposing counsel can paint the expert as a “hired gun” and attempt to impeach them with prior statements from deposition and trial testimony.  At the end of the day, attorneys are best advised to work with their experts and thoroughly prepare them for deposition and trial testimony to ensure a good outcome regardless of the level of experience a medical expert witness has in testifying.

Does the medical expert witness have a conflict of interest?

It is critical to ensure, before retaining a medical expert witness, that an initial conflict screening has been undertaken.  In order to avoid expert conflicts in a medical malpractice case, it is often necessary to retain an expert from another state or geographic area.  Doctors in a particular city or region often know each other from professional and social events, and this is one type of conflict.  Other conflicts can arise where there are affiliations with related healthcare institutions, medical practices, and law firms, to name just a few.

Is it necessary to have a screening call with an expert candidate before retaining a medical expert witness?

There are two schools of thought here.  Some attorneys insist on interviewing an expert candidate by phone for 10-15 minutes to verify that there is an ability to build a good rapport with the expert should they be retained.  There are also those attorneys who are adamant about not doing this as they prefer to avoid any chance of tainting the expert’s opinion or influencing the expert candidate to render anything other than an unbiased, honest opinion as to the strengths and weakness of a case.

Your Next Step: Call AMFS (American Medical Forensic Specialists)


For nearly 30 years, AMFS has been a trusted partner with the legal community, providing the best qualified medical expert witnesses that help win cases.  When working with AMFS, they handle the legwork as they have built a network of more than 6000 medical and healthcare practitioners that are pre-eminent in their fields.  AMFS medical expert witnesses are:

  • Board-certified
  • Actively Practicing in the U.S.
  • Pre-screened
  • Available for record review for merit, affidavits/certificates of merit, case consulting and testimony

Just one call to AMFS at (800) 275-8903 gives you access to their network of medical expert witnesses and consultants in every recognized medical specialty and subspecialty.  AMFS’ network is inclusive of nursing experts, dental experts, healthcare support professionals as well as many other medical and healthcare-related subject matter experts.

Schedule a free case consultation with a Medical Director
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Chinh Phan

Author Chinh Phan

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