Court Discusses Expert Qualifications in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

The duties and standards of care imposed on medical professionals are not within the understanding of the average person. As such, in most Maryland medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will need to hire an expert to explain such matters to the jury and to establish causation. There are requirements a person must meet to qualify to testify as an expert, though, as discussed in a recent Maryland ruling. If you were hurt by a negligent doctor, you should speak to a trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorney about what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the defendant surgically extracted the plaintiff’s wisdom teeth. Prior to the procedure, the defendant advised the plaintiff she may experience complications, including numbness and tingling. After the surgery, the plaintiff could not speak or move her tongue. She was advised that her condition would improve over time, but it did not. She still had paresthesia at her follow-up appointment weeks later.

Reportedly, six months after the surgery, the plaintiff was treated by a different oral surgeon who diagnosed her with neurotmesis. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant and named two experts who would provide expert testimony on her behalf. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s experts’ testimony was inadmissible and, therefore, judgment should be entered in his favor as a matter of law. The court granted his motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Expert Qualifications in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

In order for expert testimony to be admissible, it must meet the requirements established by Maryland law. Specifically, it may only be admitted if the court finds that it will aid the trier of fact in understanding the evidence offered or deciding a disputed fact. In evaluating whether evidence meets these requirements, the courts will assess whether the witness is qualified to testify as an expert because of their education, training, skill, or experience.

It will also examine whether the testimony is appropriate on the particular subject and whether an adequate factual basis exists to support the testimony. In the subject case, the court found that while there were credibility issues with one of the plaintiff’s experts, questions of credibility were for the jury. Further, the court found that the experts possessed the required qualifications and that their testimony would aid the jurors in determining the issues of whether the defendant breached the standard of care and whether his breach proximately harmed the plaintiff. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Consult a dedicated Maryland Attorney

Expert testimony is a key component of medical malpractice cases, but only certain parties are qualified to testify as experts. If you suffered injuries because of a careless doctor, you might be owed compensation, and you should consult an attorney. The dedicated Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable outcome. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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