When a claim is denied, the opinion of an expert may be required to support the position that an injury is serious and permanent in nature. This expert is not hired by the Plaintiff. A good lawyer is well-versed in the role of a “litigation expert” and is knowledgeable about whom to retain to best meet the needs of the case.
A litigation expert is a specialist who will assess the client, provide a report, and then testify on the client’s behalf at trial. In medical cases, the expert will typically have no pre-existing doctor-patient relationship. This does not mean, however, that a treating physician cannot act as a litigation expert. A physician who has been managing a patient’s care may in fact be an excellent witness with valuable insight and expertise about a patient’s diagnoses, treatment, and prognosis.
Whether the litigation expert is independent or a treating physician, it is imperative he / she comply with all of the requirements listed within Rule 53.03 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. This includes in the expert opinion report:
1. The expert’s name, address and area of expertise.
2. The expert’s qualifications and employment and educational experiences in his or
her area of expertise.
3. The instructions provided to the expert in relation to the proceeding.
4. The nature of the opinion being sought and each issue in the proceeding to which
the opinion relates.
5. The expert’s opinion respecting each issue and, where there is a range of opinions
given, a summary of the range and the reasons for the expert’s own opinion within
6. The expert’s reasons for his or her opinion, including:
i. a description of the factual assumptions on which the opinion is based,
ii. a description of any research conducted by the expert that led him or her to form
the opinion, and
iii. a list of every document, if any, relied on by the expert in forming the opinion.
7. An acknowledgement of expert’s duty (Form 53) signed by the expert.
Retaining an expert who has the necessary knowledge, experience, and willingness to swear under oath to the contents of a report is a significant responsibility. We are here to assist our clients with navigating the steps required to retain an expert to ensure a successful advocacy process.