The residents of New Mexico, of all people, are acutely aware that some people hold some far-fetched ideas about science. If you happen to stop at a gas station near a major highway exit in Santa Fe, you will find cars with license plates from Colorado, Utah, and points north headed for Roswell, and if you give them the time of day, they will speculate at length about the unknowable. The good news is that the courts of New Mexico have higher standards when it comes to proving scientific facts. In personal injury or medical malpractice cases, doctors who have treated the plaintiff often testify, but so do medical experts whom the attorneys call to testify about the causes and prognosis of injuries of the type that the plaintiff suffered. To find out more about how doctors who have never personally treated you can help you prove your case, contact a Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer.
The Daubert Standard: The Scientific Method in the Courtroom
Like most states, New Mexico follows the Daubert standard for determining the admissibility of medical and scientific expert witness testimony. The Daubert standard is codified in several U.S. Supreme Court decisions from the 1990s and applies in criminal cases as well as civil cases such as medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits.
These are the elements of the Daubert standard:
- The judge must review the testimony the expert plans to present before the expert presents it to the jury so that the judge has a chance to read and corroborate the published research that the expert intends to present. The judge may exclude any pieces of testimony that he or she finds inadmissible.
- The expert may not cite untested or untestable scientific theories.
- Any published research the expert cites must be published in peer-reviewed journals.
- The expert should be as specific as possible about the known or potential rate of error of the studies the expert cites.
- The theory must be generally accepted in the expert’s scientific field.
The Alberico Test of New Mexico Expert Witness Qualifications
The Alberico test is based on a decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court. These are the elements of the Alberico test:
- The expert must hold official qualifications related to the scientific discipline about which he or she is testifying. Spinal surgeons may testify about spinal injuries, but they should not testify about stomach cancer.
- The testimony must be directly relevant to the claims that the party who summoned the witness (the plaintiff or defendant) is trying to prove.
Your lawyer will work with expert witnesses to ensure that their testimony is admissible in court and that it helps you prove your medical malpractice claim.
Contact Slate Stern About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Slate Stern is a medical malpractice lawyer who represents plaintiffs and helps them get justice after being injured as a result of medical errors. Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.