The role of the expert witness

Surg Clin North Am. 2007 Aug;87(4):889-901, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2007.07.010.


The role of expert witnesses in medical malpractice litigation is often misunderstood. Much maligned, the expert has been the subject of castigation by a range of people, from his professional colleagues to the jurists who preside over his testimony. From an academic perspective, the expert witness is a necessary evil, and his denigration is his own doing; for the expert is a neutral character who creates his own professional persona. This purpose of this article is to serve as a primer for those interested in understanding the role that the expert is supposed to play in litigation, and the factors surrounding his activities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Expert Testimony* / standards
  • Fraud
  • Humans
  • Judicial Role
  • Liability, Legal*
  • Malpractice* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Medical Errors* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Narration
  • Physician's Role*
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • United States