ADHD: A Parenting Guide

The Role Of An Expert In Medicolegal Cases

Medicolegal cases involve the crossroads where medical practice and legal issues intersect. For example, medical malpractice cases require a legal judgment on whether the actions taken by a doctor showed neglect or even criminal intent. Whenever the law is called upon to make a ruling on medical matters, it is necessary for legal officials to consult medical experts for help in understanding how medical issues relate to the case in question. In these circumstances, it is important to know the limits of the medical expert. 

Clarify Medical Quandaries

A decade worth of legal training is not enough to understand all the intricacies involved in medical cases. This can be especially apparent in medical malpractice cases. A surgeon can tell you exactly how a bypass surgery should be performed, but a lawyer might miss important details, misunderstand procedures, or misrepresent the actions taken by a doctor. This is where a medical expert can review the facts of a case and assess whether a medical peer acted in accordance with standards of the medical profession.

Deciphering Medical Jargon

Each trade has its peculiar terminology and the medical profession has enough medicine-specific jargon to put most other professions to shame. Any doctor who is called on to act as a legal expert should take all the pains necessary to make the facts of a case as clear as possible so that those non-versed in medical terminology can easily understand the expert's report. This often involves eliminating jargon and defining any medical terminology required to create the report. 

Rendering Opinions

While it is not a medical expert's role to cast judgment in a case, a medical expert can give opinions about the actions taken by a doctor in a case. When giving opinions, experts should clearly separate opinion from facts. For example, an expert could save reserve opinions until the end of a report and create a heading specifically identifying where the opinion section of a report begins. Experts should avoid giving opinions about what legal actions should be taken since that is the domain of a legal expert. 

Receiving a request to act as a medical expert in a medicolegal case is an honor, but it is also a huge responsibility. When writing a report, you should take all the steps necessary to explain the facts of the case so that legal officials have all the resources they need to make an accurate ruling. However, if you simply need the assistance of a professional, consider contacting a physician such as Matthew Steiner MD