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What is an Expert Witness Reply in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Here in New York?

 

A:

In New York State, the rules that govern lawyers and lawsuits in accident cases, negligence cases, medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits are found in the CPLR;  Civil Practice Law and Rules. Section 3101(d) of the civil practice laws and rules set forth exactly how expert witness information is supposed to be exchanged during the course of a civil lawsuit.

If you bring a medical malpractice case in New York, and do not notify your adversary that you have retained medical experts for the purposes of testifying at trial and then try and introduce those witnesses at trial, you will see very clearly what happens when you do not comply with the court rules.

You will not be permitted to have your witnesses testify if you did not notify the defense. That would be deadly.

New York State requires that attorneys in a civil lawsuit exchange expert witness information with their adversaries. We are not required to identify the name of our expert. Instead, we are required to list our expert's credentials; where they went to school, medical school, where they did their residency training, their board certifications, where they're licensed and their professional associations.

The ironic thing is that with today's computer programs, it is a simple matter of plugging in the information in order to identify exactly who will be coming in to testify as an expert.

The civil practice law and rules require that we explain what the witnesses coming in to testify about. We are also required to explain what is the  basis upon which this expert will be testifying. Is it based upon treating the patient? Is it because they have reviewed all the medical records and are now ready to render an opinion? Is it because they are the world-known authority on this particular condition?

The bottom line is that we are required to notify the defense of any and all experts we intend on bringing in to trial on your behalf. The question of when this information should be exchanged has always been a touchy subject for lawyers in New York. Some believe they achieve a strategic advantage by waiting till the last-minute to provide this information. Some have gotten into hot water for waiting till the last minute.

To learn more about expert witness replies, I encourage you to watch the quick video below...