Finding an Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness

Finding an Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Orthopedic surgery expert witnesses can bring specialized knowledge of the musculoskeletal system to cases involving injuries or medical malpractice. This guide aims to provide an overview of how best to work with orthopedic surgery expert witnesses, the areas on which they can opine, tips for finding the right expert witness, and how to maximize the value of their testimony.

What Is an Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness?

An orthopedic surgery expert witness is a highly specialized medical professional with extensive training and experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgical procedures related to musculoskeletal conditions. These experts are typically board-certified orthopedic surgeons who provide their expertise in legal proceedings to assist attorneys, judges, and juries in understanding complex medical issues.

What Types of Cases Typically Require Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witnesses?

Orthopedic surgery expert witnesses are typically required in cases related to musculoskeletal injuries and treatments. These types of cases include:

  • Personal Injury: Involving fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries.
  • Medical Malpractice: Related to surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or improper treatment of orthopedic conditions.
  • Workers’ Compensation: For work-related injuries affecting bones, joints, and muscles.
  • Product Liability: Involving defective medical devices or implants.
  • Disability Claims: Requiring assessment of functional impairment due to musculoskeletal conditions.

Areas Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witnesses Can Opine On

An orthopedic surgery expert witness possesses specialized knowledge across various aspects of orthopedic medicine. Some key areas they can opine on include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology: The structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Orthopedic Conditions and Injuries: Conditions such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other degenerative or traumatic injuries.
  • Diagnostic Techniques: The interpretation of diagnostic imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasound to diagnose orthopedic conditions and injuries.
  • Treatment Modalities: Non-surgical treatment options such as physical therapy, medications, injections, and bracing, as well as surgical interventions ranging from minimally invasive procedures to complex reconstructive surgeries.
  • Surgical Techniques: Techniques for various orthopedic procedures, including joint replacement surgery, arthroscopic surgery, fracture fixation, spinal fusion, and ligament reconstruction.
  • Complications and Risks: Potential complications, risks, and adverse outcomes associated with orthopedic surgeries and treatments, along with strategies for minimizing these risks.
  • Rehabilitation and Recovery: Rehabilitation protocols and strategies to optimize recovery and functional outcomes following orthopedic surgery or injury.
  • Functional Assessment: Assessments to evaluate a patient’s level of impairment, disability, and ability to perform activities of daily living.
  • Standard of Care: Established medical standards, guidelines, and best practices in orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care.

Finding the Right Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness

Finding an expert witness can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you identify and select the right expert for your case:

  • Review Credentials and Qualifications: Ensure the expert has relevant academic and professional qualifications. This can include board certification in orthopedic surgery from medical boards such as the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), an active license to practice medicine and surgery in relevant jurisdictions, and clinical experience practicing orthopedic surgery in settings including hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and private practices.
  • Prioritize Case-Specific Expertise: Select an expert with knowledge and experience in your case’s specific issues. This can include specific orthopedic subspecialties such as sports medicine, joint replacement, spine surgery, trauma surgery, hand surgery, pediatric orthopedics, or orthopedic oncology.
  • Evaluate Communication Skills: An effective expert can explain complex medical and scientific concepts in a way that is easily understood by a nonmedical audience.
  • Review Testimony History: Has your potential expert witness provided testimony in court before? Review any prior testimony to avoid conflicting opinions.
  • Consider Availability: Ensure that the expert witness you choose is available to work on your case within your required timeline.

Maximizing the Impact of Orthopedic Surgery Expert Testimony

To get the most out of your expert witness testimony, consider the following tips:

  • Engage Early: Prepare thoroughly by discussing the case details, medical records, and pertinent issues with the expert early in the case. This will help you understand their findings and ensure they understand legal strategies and case nuances.
  • Simplify Testimony: Work with the expert witness to ensure their testimony is concise, coherent, and easily understandable to the judge and jury.
  • Prepare and Cross-Examine: Conduct mock trials or practice sessions to refine the expert’s presentation and prepare for potential challenges.
  • Collaborate: Foster open communication with the expert witness throughout the case to address any concerns and ensure a unified strategy.

Working effectively with orthopedic surgery expert witnesses requires a strategic approach. By understanding their role, choosing the right expert, and effectively utilizing their expertise, you can maximize the value of their testimony and strengthen your case.

GLG has a network of experts across all industries and disciplines who can offer their testimony to support your case. We connect lawyers with the right experts for their cases quickly and efficiently so you can focus on litigating and winning.

If you are a lawyer in need of an expert witness, submit your request below, and our team will get to work finding the right match.

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