Expert witness testimony guidelines: identifying areas for improvement
Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg
Expert witnesses play an invaluable, if controversial, role by deciphering medical events for juries in cases of alleged negligence. We review expert witness guidelines among major surgical societies and identify gaps within these standards, as our hope is that this spurs discussion addressing areas for improvement. Of 8 surgical societies with accessible guidelines, none included specific compensation guidelines or limits, detailed reporting mechanisms regarding unethical behavior by legal professionals, or addressed the appropriateness of testifying frequently and exclusively for one side. Several processes possibly deterring grossly inaccurate testimony have been adopted by other surgical societies and should potentially be addressed by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. These include offering an expert witness testimony certification path, strengthening the formalized grievance process, and encouraging members to sign an affirmation statement.