Improving the Qualifications of Experts in Medical Malpractice Cases


For decades, legal scholars have recognized the problem of physicians testifying beyond their expertise in medical malpractice cases. This article explains why courts have historically been liberal about admitting testimony by unqualified or marginally-qualified experts in malpractice cases, discusses recent legislative and judicial innovations that have tightened the standards for admitting medical experts, and proposes a new "reasonable patient" rule that balances the need to ensure that plaintiffs with worthy claims are able to procure expert testimony with methods of assuring that only competent experts will testify.