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Choosing A Medical Expert for A Clinical Negligence Case - Dr Mark Burgin

01/12/20. Dr. Mark Burgin BM BCh (oxon) MRCGP explains a logical approach for solicitors to identifying the key skills that your clinical negligence case will require.

So you have drawn up a brief of the case, worked out the likely value of the claim and obtained the relevant records – what next?

The next step is to Google (other search engines are available) ‘medical expert’ and select three experts at random for an initial approach by email and see what they come up with.

Experienced experts are mine of useful information as to what medical explanations are available to the defence and claimant and clarify if your estimate of the value is likely to be right.

Occasionally you will find a goldmine of an expert and their medical knowledge plus your legal knowledge means they can be your go-to about any case.

The Material Issues

Although chatting to experts in this way improves your understanding of the medical issues in the case what you really need is a list of the questions that need answering.

The material issues are the building blocks that will help you write effective instructions and ensure that you have the chain of evidence to prove your client’s case.

The clearer the question the easier it is to find the right expert(s) to address these questions because if the expert cannot answer the question they will protest.

Your go-to can again be helpful in suggesting how the specialist could approach the question and offer a reasoned and reasonable answer.

Finding Experts

Up to this point you have just been flirting with experts to get an idea of how to find experts but now you must get serious to find the best expert for your case.

You know what questions that they will need to answer, what types of experience they will need to have and what area they will practice.

If you need to save money you should short list three experts yourself and double check with BAILLI and Google for any history, agencies are more expensive.

You should request a CV and an anonymised report from each expert and have a chat on the telephone about their fees and their timescales.

Selecting Experts

At this stage you have an idea about how easy it is to talk to the expert, whether they write in an attractive way and whether they will be able to cope with the claimant.

Having the expert’s anonymised report audited by your go-to expert can crystallise your suspicions about an expert’s ability in covering the material issues.

The best expert is one who can assist the court, not the one with the most qualifications or the fanciest website and definitely not the hired gun.

You are looking for a match between the peculiarities of the case and the peculiarities of the expert so that they are the right choice for that case.

Conclusions

The clinical negligence lawyer should be prepared to exploit the go-to expert’s knowledge and understanding but use the same caution when instructing them.

If you feel guilty about getting free advice, then paying for a screening report (typically £100) as long as it includes the material questions can reduce that feeling.

Getting to know specialist experts in the area takes time and risks being seduced by sweet words unless you know what questions are material.

By researching your expert and having an expert’s eye view of the case you will reduce the risk of there being a mismatch and the problems that can cause.

Doctor Mark Burgin, BM BCh (oxon) MRCGP is on the General Practitioner Specialist Register and audits medical expert reports.

Dr. Burgin can be contacted This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 0845 331 3304 website drmarkburgin.co.uk

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