In order to successfully prove a medical negligence case, medical malpractice attorneys must prove that the doctor failed to live up to the appropriate standard of care. Generally, lawyers, on behalf of their clients, must call expert witnesses in order to establish the relevant standard of care that professionals are expected to fulfill. However, in many jurisdictions, plaintiffs may not need to present expert witnesses if the negligence undertaken by the doctor was “so grossly apparent, that a layman would have no difficulty recognizing it”.
When Would a Layman Recognize Medical Malpractice?
Expert testimony is not necessary to prove a plaintiff’s case when the negligent conduct of the doctor was a matter of common knowledge. One example that constitutes a “matter of common knowledge” is all too frequent in medical treatment today. This example involves a surgeon who negligently leaves a foreign object inside of a patient, such as a sponge, following a medical procedure. Expert testimony is not necessary to prove that the doctor breached his duty to the patient when he began the procedure. A layperson does not need advanced medical schooling and degrees to recognize that a foreign object should not be left inside of a patient following a procedure. Therefore, a jury can easily see for themselves that there was a breach of a duty resulting in medical malpractice, without the unnecessary parade of highly educated doctors at trial.
One final example came about in the Texas case of Schneider v. Haws. In that case, no expert testimony was necessary to prove medical negligence when a patient was not provided an escort or mechanism to safely return her to the waiting room. The patient ended up hitting her head due to the lack of assistance and supervision following a meeting with the doctor.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If you or a family member have recently been the victim of medical negligence, it is possible that you would like to speak with our professionals. Please contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.