It is rare for a medical malpractice case not to involve medical expert testimony. This is because medical malpractice cases deal with highly complex medical subjects that are typically beyond the scope of the average juror. A medical expert witness can be hired by a plaintiff to fill in the gaps and explain nuanced medical issues in a way that can be understood by the jury. While a jury is not required to adopt the medical expert’s opinion as fact, it can help shape their understanding of a case and its key elements.

What Is a Medical Expert?

A medical expert is a person who is regarded as an authority on a medical subject based on extensive experience, education and/or first-hand knowledge in the field. It is someone who is currently engaged in either practicing or teaching medicine. Medical expert witnesses can be physicians, surgeons, nurses, chiropractors and other licensed health care practitioners whose experience and skill qualify them to testify as experts on a particular subject. A medical expert can be hired by a plaintiff to give his or her expert opinion on a fact that is relevant to the case as testimony. The average cost of hiring a medical expert runs between $275 and $500 per hour.

How Can a Medical Expert Help a Medical Malpractice Case?

The purpose of bringing a medical expert into a medical malpractice case is typically to examine the material facts and give an expert opinion for the record. A medical expert may be used to testify about one or more aspects of a case. For example, there may be an injury expert hired to testify regarding the injuries or illness the plaintiff is claiming, such as how the injury might have been caused and what effects it will likely have on the victim’s life.

The same case may also bring in a separate medical expert for testimony regarding the alleged malpractice itself. This expert might examine evidence such as the plaintiff’s medical records and doctor’s notes to establish the standard of care and determine if it was breached. For example, the expert may compare the defendant’s actions or omissions to what the expert reasonably would have done in the same circumstances as a physician in the same field. This can help a jury understand the defendant’s standards of care at the time of the incident and how he or she breached them when treating the plaintiff.

What Is West Virginia’s Certificate of Merit Requirement?

Medical expert testimony is not mandatory during a medical malpractice trial in West Virginia. However, it is required prior to the trial, as at least 30 days before the plaintiff files a medical malpractice lawsuit, he or she must use a medical expert to verify the facts of the case. West Virginia Code Section 55-7B-6 requires a screening certificate of merit as a prerequisite for a medical malpractice claim. This is a written document created by a health care provider who qualifies as an expert under the state’s civil court rules.

The screening certificate of merit must contain the following:

  • What qualifies the individual to act as an expert under state law.
  • The expert’s familiarity with the medical standard of care relevant to the circumstances of the case.
  • The expert’s opinion as to how the defendant breached or violated the applicable standard of care regarding the plaintiff.
  • How the defendant’s breach of duty resulted in the plaintiff’s injury.

West Virginia’s civil court defines a medical expert witness for the purposes of this certificate as someone who is qualified under the state’s rules of evidence, maintains a current license to practice medicine, and who at the time of medical injury dedicates at least 60 percent of his or her professional time to active clinical practice or teaching in his or her medical field or specialty.

Contact an Attorney for Assistance With Medical Expert Testimony

To learn more about medical expert testimony during your particular case, contact a medical malpractice lawyer in West Virginia. A lawyer can connect you to qualified medical experts in your region to complete the screening certificate of merit requirement and/or testify during your case.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


Contact Us Today

We offer a free initial consultation at our office in the Manchin Professional Building — our home since 1983 — conveniently located in Fairmont.

If you are unable to visit our firm, we can come to your home or hospital room.

Fill out the form below to get in touch!

100% privacy guarantee