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Gerry Oginski's New York Legal Blog

This blog is designed to educate and inform you about recent news and how it may impact your legal case in New York. I have provided commentary and opinion and welcome your comments to keep the conversation going.

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7/7/2009
Gerry Oginski
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I was contacted today by a physician who claimed to do expert witness work for injured victims. He wanted some business. I asked him what his medical speciality was. Instead of a direct answer, he said he'd done consulting for attorneys before, and that if I want, I should go to his website to see what he has done.

I said "No. Tell me what your medical specialty is."
His reply- "Research."
"Are you board certified in any field of medicine?"
"No, but I help attorneys understand their case, and I don't have to be board certified to testify."
I asked, "How can you testify as a credible expert witness if you're not board certified?"
His response: "I do this all the time. I don't really testify. I help explain the case to you so you become more familiar with the medicine."
"What types of cases do you review?" I asked incredulously. "Surgery, pulmonary, cardiac, cancer..." was his reply.

I was amazed.

I then asked why I should hire him, and then have to hire a second expert to testify at trial? I only heard silence on the phone.
I asked again.
"Why should I hire two medical experts; one who reviews the case, and another who testifies?"
His reply was "Because I'm a better teacher."

"But wait," I said. "You still haven't answered my question."
"If I hire a medical expert to spend 5 hours to review medical records, and that expert feels the case has merit, I don't want to hire another expert two years later to review the case starting fresh, and close in time to the trial. That's double the work, and double the money. What do you have to say about that?"

He had no answer.
"But I'm a better teacher," he repeated.
"So are many of the experts I hire. They're clinical doctors with academic credentials who are board certified," I said.
I was getting frustrated talking with this guy.
"What good does it do for my client if you're a good teacher, but you can't come into court to teach a jury that our position is more likely right than wrong?"
His final answer was "I've been doing this for a long time, and you really should see my website."
My final reply was "Have a nice day."

The moral of the story: Don't let your medical malpractice attorney hire a "medical consultant" who does not testify, just to confirm you have a case, and then have to hire a new medical expert during your case. Make sure you hire a board certified expert in the specialty you need to review and to testify."


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