Injured victims and workers know their doctor is their hope to repair their broken body, but many are shocked to discover the doctor is also a key witness in their case. Almost every injury case tried in South Carolina—whether it’s an auto accident, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation case, or anything else—requires doctor testimony in some form.
This testimony often requires painstaking analysis of medical records and developing highly detailed testimony to satisfy both legal standards and also the decision-makers who determine your compensation.
Here are basic issues doctors testify about:
- Causation. It sounds crazy, but most cases require a doctor to testify that the accident caused the injuries. For medical malpractice, you can’t even file a lawsuit without a doctor’s sworn statement that the at-fault doctor committed malpractice that hurt you.
- Symptoms. Doctors keep medical records about your problems. It’s easier to get compensated for legitimate pain complaints that are supported by medical tests the doctor does. So be honest and thorough about your symptoms.
- Treatment. Sometimes the extensive treatment history is the most compelling picture of how bad you were hurt. You've also got to be honest with the doctor about whether the treatment works, or it can wreck you case.
- Permanent injury or impairment rating. As medical experts, doctors can give trustworthy opinions that you are permanently injured. They can also express expert opinions about how your lasting injuries will affect your life and work. Doctors can assign impairment ratings that reflect the permanent damage caused by an accident; this can increase your compensation by confirming a more serious injury than you initially expected. Impairment ratings are vital in workers' compensation cases.
- Future problems. Sometimes serious injuries lead to future complications, such as arthritis or depression. Your doctors can testify about the likelihood of those problems and their treatment, which can help win you compensation for them.
- Future treatment. Doctors can give an opinion on the amount of future treatment you will need, including medications and surgery, which can also increase your compensation.
An Experienced Injury Lawyer Helps Your Doctor Help You
If the case justifies it, we meet with your doctor to get his view of these issues long before he testifies. The meeting costs money for his time, but it’s often worth it—it gives us a clear picture of his medical assessment, helping us value your case. Sometimes we send questionnaires to doctors in order to gain a powerful snapshot of the toll the injuries took on you.
Doctor testimony is tricky because legal standards require questions to be asked a certain way. In jury trials, doctors usually testify by video deposition played to the jury. Asking them to show up for trial is usually too much—when your job involves medical emergencies, trial testimony understandably takes a backseat. These depositions are extremely expensive, so we save them for just before trial.
Medical Evidence Is Important to Your Case
If you’ve been seriously hurt at work or in an accident, one of the most important—and complex—parts of your case is the medical evidence. You need a lawyer who knows medical terms to analyze your records and develop doctor testimony to help the insurance company, a workers’ compensation commissioner, or a jury understand the full impact of your injuries, so you can secure the best shot at full compensation.
If you need this kind of lawyer, feel free to start a live chat right from where you are sitting, so we can arrange a meeting at your convenience for you to tell us about your case. If you’re too hurt to come to us, we will come to you.