The Florida Supreme Court has determined that a recently enacted state law restricting expert witness testimony in medical malpractice cases is unconstitutional. The law in question specifies the qualifications an expert witness must have in order to testify in a medical malpractice case. Specifically, the law states that experts must practice in the same specialty as the defendant physician. Experts from similar, but not identical, specialties would be disqualified under the law. The Florida Supreme Court declined to adopt the law and make it part of court procedural rules, finding that the law would unfairly limit the ability of parties to find expert witnesses.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states have laws or court rules similar to the one in Florida. In Pennsylvania, an expert witness offering opinion on standard of care in a medical malpractice case must practice in the same specialty or sub-specialty as the defendant physician, and, if applicable, be board-certified by the same medical specialty board as the defendant physician. There is an exception, however. The court can waive the same specialty requirement if it is satisfied that the expert has sufficient training or experience treating the medical condition that is the subject of the case.
The attorneys at Stark & Stark can successfully navigate the intricacies of medical malpractice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured due to medical negligence, contact Stark & Stark for a free consultation.