Expert Witnesses in Washington DC Nursing Home Bedsore Cases

Bedsore injuries may appear to be simple legal matters. After all, all nursing homes in Washington DC have a duty to prevent all foreseeable harm that may affect the health of their residents. However, defendant nursing homes and their insurance companies will not simply provide payments to plaintiffs upon request. All injured nursing homes residents must still prove their cases in settlement talks and in court.

One powerful tool available to plaintiffs in nursing home bedsore cases is the testimony of an expert witness. These witnesses can speak on your behalf as to how the bedsore became a problem and how a nursing home committed malpractice in not providing proper treatment.

Working with expert witnesses in Washington DC nursing home bedsore cases is key to any successful claim. An experienced bedsores attorney could help you to better understand the role of expert witnesses and to help you to hire one to prove your case.

The Expert Witness Requirement

It is a long-standing idea under Washington DC law that a medical malpractice case can only be proven through the use of an expert witness. The case of Sponaugle v. Pre-Term, Inc., 411 A.2d 366 (D.C. 1980) states that most allegations of medical malpractice must be supported by an expert witness’ testimony. The only rare exception to this is when the malpractice is so obvious that a layperson may be able to recognize it.

The onset of a bedsore may fit this limited definition. It is relatively common knowledge that a bedsore may result from a person remaining immobile in bed. It is also common knowledge that nursing homes must be aware of this hazard and should take steps to prevent injury. Cases alleging negligence due to the onset of a bedsore may be able to avoid this expert witness requirement.

Other cases, especially those alleging poor treatment of an already existing bedsore, must rely upon an expert’s testimony. This is because these are certainly cases that allege medical malpractice that is beyond the scope of common knowledge. An attorney could help an individual to evaluate their cases to determine the need for an expert witness in a Washington DC nursing home bedsore case.

Who Counts as an Expert?

Whether or not a witness counts as an expert is surprisingly open-ended. A concept of law known as the Daubert standard states that an expert can be qualified as a result of:

  • Education
  • Training
  • Skill
  • Knowledge
  • Experience

Further, this expert’s opinion may be taken as fact by the court if:

  • The theory or technique employed by the expert is generally accepted in the scientific community;
  • It has been subjected to peer review and publication;
  • It can be and has been tested;
  • The known or potential rate of error is acceptable; and
  • The research was conducted independent of the particular litigation or dependent on an intention to provide the proposed testimony.

In short, an expert in a nursing home medical malpractice case should be qualified as a result of experience in the field of nursing or wound care. Their opinion may be accepted as fact if they apply methodology commonly used in their field and that methodology can be tested by their peers.

Expert Witnesses in DC Nursing Home Bedsore Cases Can Provide Valuable Input

Many allegations of injuries resulting from a bedsore in a Washington DC nursing home involve claims of medical malpractice. As a result, these cases usually rely upon the testimony and opinion of an expert witness to prove the case in settlement talks and in court. In fact, it is often impossible to pursue these cases without the aid of these experts.

An attorney could help clients to meet and hire expert witnesses to help pursue their claims. These experts can then examine the documentary evidence in the case, apply their own methodology to this evidence, and speak as to how the nursing home failed in their duty to protect the health of the plaintiff. Contact a lawyer today to learn more about the role of expert witnesses in Washington DC nursing home bedsore cases.