The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco General, California Pacific Medical Center, or St. Francis Memorial Hospital.
The role of expert testimony in a medical malpractice action was explained in Willard v. Hagenmeister, (1981) 121 Cal.App.3d 406:
Expert evidence in a malpractice suit is conclusive as to the proof of the prevailing standard of care and learning in the locality and of the propriety of particular conduct by the practitioner in particular instances because such standard and skills is not a matter of general knowledge and can only be supplied by expert testimony. Willard, supra, at page 412; citations omitted. For more information you are welcome to contact San Francisco personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
See also Blackwell v. Hurst (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 939, 943 (holding that the standard of care in a professional negligence case can be proven only by expert testimony); Norman v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc. (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 1233, 1250-1251 (discussing presentation of expert testimony with respect to the standard of care in an elder abuse case.)
The threshold test for the competency of an expert to render an opinion in a professional negligence action is whether the expert is qualified on the subject at issue. Evidence Code section 720(a) states that: A person is qualified to testify as an expert if he has special knowledge, skill, expertise, training, or education sufficient to qualify him as an expert on the subject to which his testimony relates. While there is no general rule for what qualifies an individual under section 720(a) to render an expert opinion, the Supreme Court explained that the expert must have a general foundation for his testimony, basic education, training, occupational experience as well as practical knowledge of what is customarily done by the health care provider under similar circumstances: (See Part 4 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact San Francisco personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.