Overview of Medical Experts in Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawsuits

When someone is injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident in Massachusetts there may be several physicians involved in treating the injuries suffered in the accident. Doctors and personal injury cases go hand in hand. In many Massachusetts personal injury cases, however, the injured party and his or her injury lawyer may need the services of a medical expert.

Medical experts are often used by personal injury lawyers for several different reasons. Since the accident victim in Massachusetts bears the burden of proving his or her case, on main reason medical experts are used is to prove the damages in a case, (e.g., the injuries, any permanent disability and pain and suffering). Below is a discussion of medical experts and how they are used in injury cases.

What Are Medical Experts?

In general, an expert witness is a professional who qualifies as an expert based upon his or her knowledge, skill, experience, training or education and is called to testify at a trial or in a court proceeding by a party to the litigation. The qualifying expert may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if their scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist a jury or judge to understand the facts or evidence or to determine an issue in a case.

One type of expert commonly used in personal injury cases is a medical expert. Medical experts are typically called to testify at trial to provide a jury with a medically professional opinion about the plaintiff’s injuries. The expert usually testifies about a specific injury, the cause of the injury, the medical treatment involved, the prognosis and recovery options. Also, a medical expert may also testify about any permanent impairment or disability an accident victim may have as a result of the accident or injury as well as mental or emotional damages.

Types of Medical Experts

There are many different types of medical expert that may be used by a personal injury lawyer in an accident case. The type of expert needed depends on the nature of injury suffered in an accident and the treatment an accident victim underwent. Here are a few common medical experts:          

  1. Orthopedic Surgeons: Arguably, the most commonly used medical expert in personal injury cases are orthopedic surgeons. These medical professionals may be used by litigants to a personal injury case to testify about the injuries someone suffered in an accident, such as a car crash. An orthopedic surgeon may testify as to the cause of the injury, treatment and resulting disability. There are many different specialties for orthopedic doctors. Some orthopedic surgeons specialize in upper extremities, such as fingers, hands, elbows and shoulder injuries. Others may focus on knee injuries or hip injuries such as MCL tears or hip replacements.
  1. Neurosurgeons: A neurosurgeon is a medical professional who specializes in surgical procedures on the nervous system. A neurosurgeon is often used as an expert witness in personal injury cases for back and neck injuries and also for brain injuries. Neurosurgeon are used in cases that stem from a car accident. For instance, spinal cord injuries are very common in car crashes and a neurosurgeon may be needed to help juries understand how a spinal cord injury happened in a crash, the treatment options and any permanent injuries that resulted.  
  1. Mental Health Experts: Mental and emotional injuries are common forms of pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases. A mental health expert is often used to provide testimony about the emotional suffering from dealing with injuries, pain and a disability. Also, specific medical conditions, such as accident post-traumatic stress disorder, are commonly testified about by mental health experts in order to help juries understand the emotional trauma an accident victim experiences.

Why Would You Need A Medical Expert?

In Massachusetts, when someone is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person or business, the injured party bears the burden of proving their case. In personal injury cases, not only does the plaintiff or claimant have to prove that the other party was negligent, but must also prove that the negligence was the cause of his or her injuries and the extent of the injuries. This is where a medical expert may be useful.

There are many different types of accidents and injuries. The type of injury will determine what type of medical expert you may need to help prove your case. For example, in a Framingham car accident case where our client suffered a severely herniated disc in her cervical spine (neck), we used a neurosurgeon as an expert witness to explain how the injury occurred in the car accident, to inform the fact finder about the neck fusion surgery she underwent and the permanent impairment she now has in her neck as a result of the accident.

As you can see, there are many different types of medical expert witnesses that can be used in a Massachusetts personal injury case. Using the right medical expert in your injury case may be just as important as using the right personal injury lawyer.

Speak With a Framingham Personal Injury Attorney Today

Whether you have been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may need the services of a medical expert to help prove your case. An experienced Massachusetts accident lawyer will be able to know what type of medical expert you may need and how to use an expert to get you the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

If you have been injured in an accident in Massachusetts, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. We offer complimentary case evaluations and are more than happy to answer your questions and explain to you what your legal rights.