When you bring a medical malpractice case in New York, we are required to support your claim with expert medical testimony. That means a medical expert must come into court to testify that there was (1) wrongdoing, (2) the wrongdoing caused injury and (3) the injury is significant and/or permanent.
However, many treating physicians refuse to get involved in the litigation process. As a treating physician, they simply don't want to come into court. There are a number of reasons for this.
First is that coming to court is a significant waste of their time. They likely will have to spend half a day or full day away from their office when instead they could be seeing and treating patients.
Second, they somehow believe that if they come into court and testify on your behalf they will be seen as a “traitor" to their colleagues for having testified on behalf of the patient.
Third, they do not want to get a reputation of being known as an expert witness for injured victims.
What this means is that most treating doctors refuse to come into court and testify on your behalf.
What happens then?
Then we have to hire qualified medical experts who are willing to come and testify.
The reason why it is useful to have one of your treating doctors testify on your behalf is that they personally had an opportunity to see you, examine you and develop a relationship with you. They are often in the best position to give opinions and conclusions about your current condition.
If your treating doctor refuses to come in and testify on your behalf, s medical expert will simply have to testify about your current condition based upon medical records obtained from your treating doctors.