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Anyone moonlight as an Expert Witness?

Home The Lounge Anyone moonlight as an Expert Witness?

  • I Find This Humerus I Find This Humerus
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    Status: Physician
    Posts: 252
    Joined: 12/02/2017

    Anyone here do expert witness work on the side? Is it worth it? How do you get into it? Seems interesting and I’d like to get my feet wet.

    How/where do I inquire?

    #78940 Reply
    Avatar ifonlyFI
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 100
    Joined: 08/23/2017

    I do a case ~q2yrs. I was referred by existing expert witness doc.

    I’ve heard some senior Orthos make a living , but never met one. I’m not convinced it is a great way to make money. There’s work involved. It’s stressful. I’ve been both on the plaintiff and defendant side. Feels a little awkward either way. I’ve never gone to court to testify

    Be firm on your rate sheet. Some lawyers will be nit picky when it comes time for payout, but don’t argue if you refer to your rate sheet and your documented time.

    #79817 Reply
    ReFinDoc ReFinDoc
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    Joined: 01/09/2016
    #79824 Reply
    MPMD MPMD
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    Does anyone know of a doc who has made a lot of money at this without a title/academic credentials?

    I think it’s quite a bit harder to really make money at this unless you are in academics.

    The people I know who have really done well are all high up in major quaternary centers.

    #79892 Reply
    ReFinDoc ReFinDoc
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 01/09/2016

    This seminar had experts from multiple fields. Accident reconstruction, forensic accounting, marine architecture. Maybe 1/4 of the audience  (75) were physicians; Family docs, ortho, spine surgeons. No academics that I could tell. Appeared that most were interested in supplementing their regular incomes rather only doing expert testimony. Payment seemed to range from $250 to $500 hour to review and maybe $5000 to testify.

    Certainly an area most physicians are terrified of. Requires an unique skill set and attitude.

    #79934 Reply
    Avatar ajm184
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    Status: Other Professional
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    Joined: 07/14/2017

    It seems in my very limited observation that an expert witnesses credentials are the entrance fee.  Yes, it is essential to be board certified in the given specialty, yes physician has seen similar cases of x over a 20+ career, yes I am department head of prestigious hospital y/residency chair of specialty z.  Excellent skills in diagnosis/complications etc to follow the charting (obviously you only get to see what was ‘written’ down in the totally unintelligible language of another physician  😀 ).

    IMO, a critical skill/requirement of an expert witness is ‘presence’.  The ability to convey to a judge/jury your view of the situation in a clear manner and a message that is adaptable to multiple people/personalities within an audience.

    An obvious, but chicken and egg logic, being on the winning side.  In this, it behoves the physician to pick carefully with whom they are an expert witness (do careful due diligence on the firm/lawyer you are a witness) for/cases.  An example, do you really want to be an expert witness for a lawyer trying/defending their first Med-mal case?  If you get stuck with bad three or four bad cases in which the side you represent loses, it is partially your reputation on the line and you may not get another call to be an expert witness.

    Lastly, though you may have a particular bias/preference to do client or defense; you’ll need to be on both sides of the coin to be most effective as an expert witness over time.

    #79981 Reply
    Liked by Vagabond MD
    I Find This Humerus I Find This Humerus
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 252
    Joined: 12/02/2017

    This seminar had experts from multiple fields. Accident reconstruction, forensic accounting, marine architecture. Maybe 1/4 of the audience  (75) were physicians; Family docs, ortho, spine surgeons. No academics that I could tell. Appeared that most were interested in supplementing their regular incomes rather only doing expert testimony. Payment seemed to range from $250 to $500 hour to review and maybe $5000 to testify.

    Certainly an area most physicians are terrified of. Requires an unique skill set and attitude.

    Click to expand…

    Do you have to take a course?

    #83773 Reply
    I Find This Humerus I Find This Humerus
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    How do you even get started if you don’t know anyone currently doing it?

    #83774 Reply
    I Find This Humerus I Find This Humerus
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    Bueller?

    #85690 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD
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    How do you even get started if you don’t know anyone currently doing it?

    Click to expand…

    Word of mouth is how I got started. One of my senior partners turfed some IR cases to me. Once you are known for doing the work, you get more cases. Now I am the senior partner turfing cases to my younger colleagues as I have mostly lost interest in this work.

    I also have a good friend who is one of the leading med mal plaintiff attorneys in our city. I do some minor case review work for him, but he has been an outstanding resource for issues that have come up in our practice and for me personally.

    #85702 Reply
    I Find This Humerus I Find This Humerus
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 252
    Joined: 12/02/2017

    How do you even get started if you don’t know anyone currently doing it?

    Click to expand…

    Word of mouth is how I got started. One of my senior partners turfed some IR cases to me. Once you are known for doing the work, you get more cases. Now I am the senior partner turfing cases to my younger colleagues as I have mostly lost interest in this work.

    I also have a good friend who is one of the leading med mal plaintiff attorneys in our city. I do some minor case review work for him, but he has been an outstanding resource for issues that have come up in our practice and for me personally.

    Click to expand…

    This is what I have heard however none of my colleagues are involved with expert witness work so I need to get “in” on my own but don’t know how/where to begin.

    #85706 Reply
    hatton1 hatton1
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 01/11/2016

    I have a very jaded view on this subject.  If you are going to do expert witness work for plaintiff attorneys you better be prepared to be grilled on the witness stand as if you were on trial.  You better be able to communicate your findings to average IQ jurors in a non-condescending manner.  Be prepared to tell the jury exactly what you were paid and how much you have made as an expert in your career.  You cannot say my wife does my taxes so I don’t know.  You also should be prepared to state how many of the procedures in question have you yourself performed in your career and in the last year.  Oh do not accept any cases in your referral area.

    #85711 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod, ReFinDoc
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3486
    Joined: 01/21/2016

    How do you even get started if you don’t know anyone currently doing it?

    Click to expand…

    Word of mouth is how I got started. One of my senior partners turfed some IR cases to me. Once you are known for doing the work, you get more cases. Now I am the senior partner turfing cases to my younger colleagues as I have mostly lost interest in this work.

    I also have a good friend who is one of the leading med mal plaintiff attorneys in our city. I do some minor case review work for him, but he has been an outstanding resource for issues that have come up in our practice and for me personally.

    Click to expand…

    This is what I have heard however none of my colleagues are involved with expert witness work so I need to get “in” on my own but don’t know how/where to begin.

    Click to expand…

    I guess you will have to do some networking. Perhaps you could call some defense firms and offer to do case reviews.

    I would recommend starting with the defense work. It is more natural to do.

    #85713 Reply
    I Find This Humerus I Find This Humerus
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 12/02/2017

    I have a very jaded view on this subject.  If you are going to do expert witness work for plaintiff attorneys you better be prepared to be grilled on the witness stand as if you were on trial.  You better be able to communicate your findings to average IQ jurors in a non-condescending manner.  Be prepared to tell the jury exactly what you were paid and how much you have made as an expert in your career.  You cannot say my wife does my taxes so I don’t know.  You also should be prepared to state how many of the procedures in question have you yourself performed in your career and in the last year.  Oh do not accept any cases in your referral area.

    Click to expand…

    What about if I only want to do defense cases?

    #85741 Reply
    Liked by hatton1
    hatton1 hatton1
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3128
    Joined: 01/11/2016

    Defense work will be psychologically better for you.  Good malpractice defense attorneys like to use a variety of doctors so he/she  does not appear to be using a professional witness. With that in mind you can do this for some time but not forever.  I assume you are ortho so that may have less emotion in it I don’t know.  If the case you are involved in goes to trial expect the plaintiff attorney to be very unpleasant.

    #85748 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod

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