Failure to Retain Expert Witness

If you hire a law firm to represent you in a legal matter, it may be necessary for that law firm to hire an expert witness on your behalf. An expert witness can be a doctor, a scientist, an engineer, an accountant, another lawyer or some other trained specialist, depending on the subject matter of your case. If your case requires an expert, and your lawyer fails to obtain one, causing you to lose your case, then you can file a claim against your lawyer for legal malpractice.

Our law firm recently had a case where a man was seriously injured at an x-ray lab. He hired an attorney to sue the x-ray lab, but the attorney neglected to hire a medically trained expert witness. In fact, the lawyer should have retained a radiologist as an expert witness, in order to testify about what the x-ray lab did wrong. When the lawyer failed to retain the expert witness within the deadlines set by the court, the x-ray lab’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the case – and the court granted it. The judge found that the victim could not win a case accusing an x-ray lab of medical errors unless it had a properly qualified expert witness to give testimony on his behalf – and therefore his case would never succeed without one.

We sued the lawyer who failed to obtain the radiology expert. We pointed out how many radiologists were actually available and willing to testify, had the lawyer even bothered to consult them. We also hired our own radiology expert to prepare a detailed report and to testify that the victim had a good case. The lawyer we sued knew he was doomed, and he settled with us for a significant amount of money.

Hiring the Wrong Expert

Another problem is that lawyers sometimes hire the wrong expert. So, for example, if you wish to sue a psychologist with a Ph.D. for malpractice, your lawyer should retain an expert who is also a Ph.D.-level psychologist. Hiring a social worker or other kind of family therapist could spell trouble, if the expert attempts to testify about an issue outside the scope of her expertise. Similarly, if somebody is medicated improperly in a hospital emergency room, the best expert witness to hire is probably an emergency medicine specialist, not a family practice physician or general practitioner.

The danger of hiring the wrong expert witness was illustrated by the case of Quad City Bank & Trust vs. Jim Kircher & Associates, P.C., which made its way to the Iowa Supreme Court. In that case, a bank attempted to prove a claim for negligent accounting by Jim Kircher & Associates, an accounting firm, but its expert witness was a certified fraud examiner (CFE), not a certified public accountant (CPA). The court did not allow the expert to testify about negligent auditing or accounting practices because he was not suitably qualified in the accounting field. So, when the bank lost the case, it sued its law firm for malpractice—for negligently hiring the wrong kind of expert. The bank won the malpractice case against the law firm, and the court entered a judgment in the bank’s favor against the law firm for $444,731.62.

We Know What Experts You Should Have Hired

In some legal malpractice cases, the attorney’s failure to hire an expert, or to hire the proper kind of expert, is based on inexperience, or unfamiliarity with the technical subject matter, or simply sheer ignorance about legal procedure. You won’t have that problem with the Law Office of Mark S. Guralnick.

Our law firm draws on its extensive experience, education, training and specialized credentials. Mark S. Guralnick himself holds eight college degrees, including a Ph.D., an M.B.A., and of course, his multiple law degrees. He has advanced training in accounting; he is a licensed private investigator, and he has been board certified as a specialist in multiple legal specialties, including legal malpractice, medical malpractice, civil trial law, family law, and international law.

Mark S. Guralnick also has access to a wide variety of consulting expert witnesses – physicians and surgeons from virtually every specialty, chiropractors, dentists, engineers, scientists, accident reconstructionists, handwriting experts, accountants, auditors, investment specialists including asset management, securities and risk management experts, economists, fraud investigators, certified real estate appraisers, weapons and ballistics experts, police excessive force, premises liability and property security experts, cyber-security and computer experts. tax, insurance and damages experts…and more. We can prove what experts should have been hired and what they would have and should have said to win your case.

To schedule a consultation with our firm to discuss your legal malpractice case, contact The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick.

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