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In a medical malpractice case, the defense lawyer might object that the expert witness we have called to the stand is not qualified to testify. This objection can be raised for a medical expert who is just about to testify, for whatever reason the defense lawyer believes, he is not qualified to testify.

In a medical malpractice case, the defense lawyer might object that the expert witness we have called to the stand is not qualified to testify. This objection can be raised for a medical expert who is just about to testify, for whatever reason the defense lawyer believes, he is not qualified to testify.

Two Opposing Sides

The moment this objection is raised, the judge will most probably ask the defense attorney on what basis he is raising this objection. The defense attorney will then have to explain to the judge why he believes the witness is not qualified to testify. The plaintiff’s lawyer on the other hand will explain to the judge, why the witness is qualified.

What happens when a Witness is possibly not Qualified and an Objection is Raised

In such instances, the jury will most likely be excused, and the judge will listen to the testimony from the witness to determine what types of qualifications the witness has, why the plaintiff is putting on this expert on the stand, and for what purpose.

For instance, the medical malpractice case is about failure to diagnose some type of heart condition, and the expert witness called to testify for the plaintiff is a cardiologist, who is board certified and licensed to practice medicine in the state of New York. Now the plaintiff’s attorney and the defense attorney will have the opportunity to question this witness in front of the judge and the court reporter, but the jury would have been excused and not present.

Why is the Jury Excused?

In this way, the judge has the opportunity to hear about the expert’s credentials, to see whether the person is qualified to give the testimony about the particular subject, without the jury being present. The jury is excused because they should not be in any way influenced by what the witness says, as he could be disqualified from giving testimony during this process, right then and there.

What does the Judge Consider in order to Qualify or Disqualify the Witness?

The judge will consider several things when the witness is being questioned by the two attorneys. He will see if the witness is indeed qualified in the particular field that he is being called to testify. Apart from qualifications, the judge will want to know if the witness can be considered an expert in the field. The judge will try to find out whether the witness has enough experience or whether he has done some special studies to provide an expert opinion.

After that, the judge will listen to the explanation of the defense lawyer for objecting to the qualifications of the witness. The judge will then make a ruling whether or not this witness is qualified to take the stand in the presence of the jury.

The Jury has a Say

If the jury feels the witness is qualified to give the testimony, then it will be noted in the record, the jury will be brought back in, and the plaintiff’s lawyer will be able to establish the witness’s credentials, as well as go ahead with the witness giving his testimony.