Under this nation's system of jurisprudence, it is recognized that an essential element of proving medical negligence is establishing that the defendant has breached a standard of care owed to the plaintiff. The courts have relied on the testimony of expert witnesses to establish what the standard of care is in a given situation and whether that standard of care has been met. The American Academy of Family Physicians recognizes and supports the concept that physicians have an ethical responsibility to assist in the administration of justice and that it is in the best interest of the public that expert medical testimony, which is objective and impartial, be readily available. It is the opinion of the American Academy of Family Physicians that the probability of achieving equitable outcomes in medical liability suits will be enhanced if the following guidelines concerning expert witnesses are observed:
In order to ensure the highest possible quality of testimony by the physician expert witness and thereby promote just and equitable verdicts, the Academy believes that all physician expert witnesses should meet certain minimum qualifications. Recognizing that legislative bodies in the various jurisdictions have the authority to establish such qualifications, the Academy supports the enactment of legislation that requires the following:
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Physician Expert Witness in Medical Liability Suits