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    As an expert witness, can I be sued?

    Physicians who serve as expert witnesses could face malpractice suits

    Dr. Expert is a well-respected dermatologist in his community. He has been in practice for 15 years and is has treated thousands of patients with psoriasis. Because of his vast experience treating this disease, he was requested by a law firm in his community to serve as an expert witness for another dermatologist.

    The case against the other dermatologist involved dosing of methotrexate for the treatment of psoriasis. Despite Dr. Expert’s vast experience in treating this disease, he has never used methotrexate in his practice. Nevertheless, he has served as an expert on many cases during his career and is determined to learn the relevant materials necessary to testify in this case. He hires a dermatology resident who researches all the relevant materials and presents them to Dr. Expert, who then formulates a report and subsequent testimony based on this information.

    During testimony, it is determined that Dr. Expert’s testimony is wrong based on improper calculations by the “hired” dermatology resident. This undermined his entire testimony and the suing plaintiff moved to have the expert’s testimony stricken from the record. This left the defendant physician in an untenable situation. He was forced to settle with the plaintiff.

    The defendant physician then sued Dr. Expert for breach of contract and professional malpractice. Can an expert be sued for malpractice?

    Next: The principle of witness immunity

     

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    David J. Goldberg, M.D., J.D.
    Dr. Goldberg is Director of Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey, Director of Mohs Surgery and laser research, ...

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