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Family Medicine Expert Witnesses - Scope of Testimony

Family medical expert witnesses generally are able to testify about certain matters pertaining to the patients, conditions and administrivia details connected to the healthcare matters of the family or specific person. Any subject outside of medicine or related-subject matter is generally not relevant to the background of the expert.

Family medicine experts may come in various ages, types and backgrounds. Some have the administrative education where they are able to explain the paperwork, process and how the other experts connect to the specific matter. Others only practice medicine. Some medical professionals have a clinical field experience with sufficient education and understanding of the psychology and emotional trauma of certain injuries and accidents. Depending on the type of doctor, the professional in the courtroom could testify about different material and subjects and still have relevant details with reliable testing and testimony for the issue. The subject the expert testifies about may change based on the needs of the victim.

The Family Medical Doctor

If the subject material in the courtroom revolves around the accident, malpractice or incident with injuries, the family medical doctor will usually testify about medical matters only. He or she may explain the harm caused, how it affects the person and what treatment is necessary for recovery. If the professional is knowledgeable about the costs, he or she could also provide the judge or jury panel with details of how much compensation is important to pay for the bills that will come with the treatment. This expert will also give the courtroom information about future therapy, procedures and medication to help the victim
become whole after the incident.

Medical Doctors and Evaluation

Some doctors are able to evaluate the patient through various other situations. This could involve a psychological matter, emotional problems or home circumstances that lead to injury. Some evaluations and assessments cover mental disorders, disabilities and medication that range from a simple headache or migraine to the more severe disorders. If the family medicine expert witness must provide an evaluation to the courtroom, he or she may explain the illness or condition specifically and then give details about how these issues affect the patient over time and immediately.

Addiction Matters

Some family doctors provide help through addiction, medication to support weaning away from drugs and therapy or counseling to combat future addiction problems. In the courtroom, the doctor may need to explain about the addiction and how it led to certain actions by the accused or the injuries to the victim. Through treatment, the doctor may provide information about how the addiction ravaged the body and affected the mind of the patient. Then, he or she may also expound on the addiction to possible future risks to others or the individual affected.

Pain and Suffering

A medical expert witness for the family may have the necessary knowledge and experience to discuss pain and suffering. The documentation that covers the initial injury along with any connected issues could result in constant or continual pain after treatment completes. Other situations involve damage to nerve endings or areas of limited function that end in pain. The greater the pain, the more the person will suffer overall. The expert may explain this to the courtroom either for the injuries or after the surgery or procedure finishes and the pain remains. Some treatment is not fully capable of removing the pain the patient will feel.

Emotional and Psychological Matters

Some family medicine doctors that become expert witnesses have the capacity to research and explain both emotional and psychological matters. This could include abuse, intentional harm, child trauma and criminal actions against the family. The expert may provide testimony about a child case where the youth suffered through abuse from a member of the family or when in the hands of family friends.

Treatment usually starts with the family doctor, but the young person may progress to a psychologist for emotional and mental trauma. The family medicine expert witness may have some experience with these issues and how the additional professional would handle the problem. With this information, the expert witness could explain to the courtroom how the emotional and psychological damage requires time and therapy.

The Family Medicine Expert in the Courtroom

With proper preparation and full relevance to the subject matter, the expert witness has the capacity to explain and detail numerous subjects. By giving the courtroom examples of his or her qualifications and connection to the subject matter, the judge or jury may have confidence the expert knows the issue.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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