FAQ for Experts

FAQs for Experts

In the unlikely event that you find yourself being asked to conduct an IME on a matter not within your field of expertise then the sooner that we can alert the requestor of the report the better and if possible before the commencement of the examination. It is usually apparent from the letter of instruction what the issues you are being asked to address are, so at a minimum it is a good idea to read at least the letter of instruction before seeing the patient (even if the medical brief is not examined until later).

By far the majority of personal injury and medical negligence matters are settled before trial. In the unlikely event of a matter proceeding to trial, if your report is well written and clearly explains the basis and the reasoning behind your opinions then your report will be admitted into evidence without you being cross examined. If your report appears biased or does not clearly explain the reasoning that links your opinion with  the facts then you may be cross examined if the matter proceeds to trial. In many jurisdictions, recent Court rule reforms now enable medical professionals to give evidence by telephone and not to have to attend in person.

Giving evidence is one aspect of medicolegal practice that many experts dislike and is a reason why many practitioners decline to give Expert opinion. Index Medicolegal will assist you in preparing for and understanding the process of giving evidence in the conduct of medicolegal proceedings.

We are an Expert witness group run by Experts. Our Experts are committed to delivering Expert evidence of the highest quality. We work hard to maintain our reputation for providing trusted, balanced and Courtworthy reports. Although we offer a prompt turnaround of reports, we do not believe in doing a rushed job.

If you wish to join our panel of Experts, we would be happy to hear from you. If you choose to join us, we will invite you to share details of your experience and we will complete a checklist of expertise to ensure that we may offer you the most appropriate cases for your area of expertise. It also allows us to be transparent with our instructing parties.

People act as Expert witnesses for many reasons. Being instructed to give an Expert opinion means taking on certain responsibilities. There will be tight deadlines, competing evidence to consider and the knowledge that you might end up having to give oral evidence. However, being consulted for your Expert opinion is richly satisfying and indicates your high standing in your profession.

People do not become Expert witnesses solely because of the work, even if it may be both thought-provoking and important. Becoming an Expert witness offers the opportunity to earn additional income in a flexible environment. So much of a doctor’s paid activity requires being present at hospital or in clinic, whereas the bulk of Expert witness work may be done remotely and flexibly. For this reason, doing Expert witness work is very attractive for doctors and other professionals who may have other duties and interests such as a young family, elderly relatives, or a role in the community.

The role of an Expert witness is to assist a Court or decision maker arrive at a fair decision. An Expert’s role can be varied and challenging but ultimately rewarding. Keeping on track and maintaining good communication with the instructing party is important and we support our Experts by communicating on your behalf with the instructing party, so they never feel out of the loop. We have innovative systems in place to help our Experts keep on track.

An individual wishing to provide Expert opinions ought to be reasonably competent with editing documents using word processing software and receiving documents via email.

Solicitors and other legal professionals will often require sight of an Expert’s CV before instructing them to write a report. At Index Medicolegal we prepare a shortened form of your CV that contains the key essential information that assists an instructing party to be confident that you have the expertise to answer the questions they require.

Index Medicolegal manage all communications with the instructing party on your behalf. We will never release any information to an instructing agency that allows you to be contacted directly. Once you are instructed in a matter, we then liaise with you to arrange the secure delivery of letters and papers, “The Brief”, and arrange a time and location for the assessment.

We have developed a number of templates that cover a number of common situations. By using these templates, you can be sure that your medicolegal Expert report is both comprehensive and compliant with the necessary rules of evidence and consistent across our panel of Expert witnesses. If you have specific layout requirements, we can discuss these with you but would expect for there to be some consistency of style and for your template to be agreed upon prior to use.

We recognise the importance of an Expert staying in one’s area of expertise.  Because of this, we never match Experts to a request for a report without discussing the case with you first. We would never seek to persuade you to do any report which you feel is outside of your area of expertise. Similarly, so that we may maintain the very best standards of Expert witness testimony, we rely on you to be honest about your ability and competency in a particular field. We encourage periodic peer-review and provide feedback upon reports you may produce and can support you to connect with other experts to enable your continuous professional development.

Index Medicolegal believe that an expert should be fairly remunerated for their time away from clinical practice and we handle the contract of engagement, invoicing, and fee collection on your behalf. We understand that the time needed to prepare a report can vary according to the amount of material you have to read, and the complexity of the matter.

Whilst Index Medicolegal take a proportion of our experts’ fees in return for our services, we do not believe in aggressive profit-taking. We prefer to look after our Experts as we recognise that a fulfilled and contented panel of Experts who are well remunerated, who willingly engage with their Expert role and who produce a detailed and Courtworthy report, are highly valued by our instructing agencies.

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FAQ for Experts

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