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LNCtips.com: 3 Expert Witness Variables

As a legal nurse consultant, I spend part of every week retaining experts for attorneys. I've found that not all attorneys want the same attributes in an expert witness. Here are three of the variables I've seen:

1)  Testifying Experience.  Some attorneys want to use the same experts over and over because certain experts are believable to juries.  Other attorneys want experts who are "fresh" with little or no experience testifying in jury trials.  The reasoning for wanting this kind of expert is that experienced experts may look jaded to juries.

2) Plaintiff / Defense Mindset.  Some attorneys want healthcare providers who have served as experts equally for plaintiff and defense cases. This eliminates the perception of bias toward one side or the other. Other attorneys want healthcare providers who are strongly in their camp as defense or plaintiff experts. Some attorneys won't hire an expert who has testified against their clients in earlier cases.

3) Educational Qualifications.  Some attorneys like experts with very specific educational criteria such as a PhD for nursing experts and Ivy League medical school education for physician experts. These attorneys feel that the expert's credentials will sway a jury to their side.  Other attorneys aren't as concerned about the location of a physician expert's medical school of if a nurse has a PhD.  These attorneys are more concerned about the effectiveness of the expert's testimony.

Want to learn about LNC skills?  Check out the Archives. ...Katy Jones