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Expert Witnesses on Trial

State legislators, physician organizations and courts are taking steps to ensure that the experts provide ethical and appropriate testimony.
By Alicia Gallegos, amednews staff.

The ideal goal of an expert witness during testimony is to be "an indifferent advocate for the truth," said neurosurgeon Jeffrey Segal, MD. Too often, though, physicians make careers as such experts and use unethical tactics to sway jurors, said Dr. Segal, founder and CEO of Medical Justice, a company that sells medical liability insurance and provides legal resources to combat frivolous claims. "Expert witnesses are the weak or strong link in any medical liability case," he said. Lawmakers, physician organizations and courts are taking steps to combat unethical testimony by these so-called hired guns. In recent years, several states have enacted tighter restrictions on expert witness testimony in medical negligence cases. At the same time, more medical associations and state medical boards have created standards for proper expert witness testimony and acted against experts who violate those rules. [...]

Read the entire article in American Medical News