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Treating Physician vs Expert Physician Testimony

If you were injured in an accident and pursue a personal injury claim, it is likely that a doctor will need to provide evidence of the extent of your injuries. Personal injury law attorneys often encounter treating physicians who simply do not want to have to testify regarding their injured patients. Other physicians make substantial sums testifying on behalf of the defense without actual detailed knowledge of the patient. While the treating physician may provide detailed notes and may author a report that can be introduced at trial, an injured plaintiff faces the prospect of having a defense physician testify live at trial to refute the professional opinion of the treating physician. This is why the help of an experienced personal injury attorney is key to the success of your case; your lawyer will have to effectively cross examine physicians who routinely testify on behalf of insurance companies in their attempt to mitigate or deny all injury claims.

To get a treating physician to testify live in court is often difficult and expensive, so a personal injury lawyer will often choose to take a doctor’s deposition on video to use at trial instead. 

It is common for semi-retired specialists, like orthopedic surgeons, to testify on behalf of the defense. This is an effective way to persuade a jury that the plaintiff’s condition was almost entirely preexisting and that there was no serious injury. These specialists regularly review medical files and conduct adversarial independent medical exams for insurance companies. In fact, many of these physicians retained by the defense may have testified hundreds or thousands of times for various insurance carriers.

One of the best approaches to counter physician specialist testimony would be to secure evidence from prior cases, including reports and video deposition testimony and cross checking to make sure the same or similar testimony is not used over and over again. It is extremely important to perform the leg work to secure other depositions and videos to neutralize the physician testimony, especially if most or all of the physician testimony is similar or the same. 

It is also necessary to point out that the physician expert may have made a substantial amount of money by consistently testifying on behalf of insurance companies over the course of decades.  This gives jurors a complete picture of the expert witness, and they may be more likely to discount the physician’s testimony.

Most plaintiff counsel are keenly aware of those physicians who testify over and over again on behalf of the defense. Each will develop their own strategies to diffuse and counter the testimony proffered by these experts. When defense counsel retains and uses one of their hired “physician guns” to assert that the plaintiff was not really injured from an accident, the plaintiff’s lawyer must be prepared to attack those conclusions. They then must focus on showing a jury the overuse and financial motivations of the physician expert used by the defense and the insurance carrier.

Have You Been Injured in Nevada? 

If you or someone you know has been injured, it is critically important to get a skilled attorney on your side. The insurance company will come prepared, and you should, too. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Matt Pfau Law Group today. 

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