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What Is an Emergency Medicine Expert Witness?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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An emergency medicine expert witness is a person hired to provide expert testimony during a criminal or civil trial with regard to medicine and emergency medical procedures. This witness may be someone with a background in professional medicine, such as a doctor or an emergency medical technician (EMT). Someone called as an expert witness can also be a person with an educational or research-based background in medicine, rather than professional experience. An emergency medicine expert witness often provides technical information and support for a trial, and is typically paid based on reliability and how well his or her evidence has previously stood up in court.

Much like other types of expert witnesses, an emergency medicine expert witness provides testimony during a court hearing, or advises an attorney during a case, with regard to medicine and emergency procedures. This type of witness often has extensive experience in emergency medicine, with greater experience potentially allowing for higher rates as a witness. The exact nature of the responsibilities required of an emergency medicine expert witness may vary from case to case. In general, however, he or she provides testimony regarding medical procedures and answers questions during cross examination.

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An emergency medicine expert witness can be utilized in either a criminal or civil hearing. If someone brings a malpractice lawsuit against an EMT or doctor who may have behaved negligently, for example, then an expert witness for this plaintiff would provide examples of standard practices and how the behavior of the defendant deviated from those practices. The defendant in such a case would likely hire an emergency medicine expert witness as well, who would then provide testimony that supports the actions he or she took. In such an instance, the individual reputations of each witness would likely be brought up to evaluate the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies.

Payment an emergency medicine expert witness receives is typically based on how credible he or she is as a witness. Someone with experience as an expert witness may also receive greater compensation based on how well his or her testimony has held up in previous cases. An emergency medicine expert witness may also expand his or her clientele beyond the legal system and provide expert insight for journalists as a pundit or television adviser. Acting as an expert witness can provide a career option for someone who no longer wishes to practice emergency medicine, or for someone with a research background in medicine.

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