How do you hire the best medical or dental experts, if you do not have any money? Your lawyer may agree to a non-recourse advance, or you may be able to pay the experts yourself, even if you have to borrow the money.
There is an important rule. No matter who pays the expert, he must be paid in advance. The expert cannot give you credit, because it is against the law for an expert witness to have an interest in the outcome of a case. In a Kentucky case, a child who had heart surgery was taken to the ER, because she was coughing up blood, which is a real danger signal. The doctors ignored her and sent her home, where she hemorrhaged to death in her mother’s arms. The lawyer tried to use his brother-in-law, who was a doctor, as his medical expert witness. The judge ruled that the expert had an interest in the outcome of the case because of his relationship with the lawyer and refused to let the expert testify. Since they had no expert witness, the case was dismissed, and the parents lost everything.
In an Indiana case, the parents of a child were suing, because she was permanently crippled by an orthopaedic surgeon’s negligence. Since they were poor, and the medical expert witness felt sorry for them, he agreed not to charge them for testifying unless they won their case. When he testified, he was asked if he had been paid in advance and admitted that he had not and would only make a charge, if the case were won. The judge disqualified the expert, because he had an interest in the outcome, and the case was lost.
When the expert is on the witness stand, the opposing lawyer will ask him how he has been paid. If he says he has not be paid in advance but will be paid later, the opposing lawyer will use that to convince the jury that the expert’s payment depends on the outcome of the case, and his opinion should not be believed or trusted.
The Rule Is: If you have a good case, you can probably obtain the financial assistance you need from your lawyer or a lawsuit funding company. However, the medical or dental expert witness will have to be paid in advance by you, your lawyer, or a lawsuit funding company. It does not matter who. What is important is when your expert is on the witness stand, and the opposing lawyer asks him if his fee has been paid, he can say yes, and he has no financial interest in the outcome of the trial.
JD.MD, Inc., has served the legal communities in the U.S. and Canada since 1978. Contact us at 800-225-JDMD (5363) to have your malpractice cases reviewed by our medical experts and dental experts.