While physical injury cases can be decided without digging deeper into scientific details, toxic tort cases require a somewhat more complex approach to come up with a fair judgment. Namely, it requires the statement of a reliable medical expert witness. Here are some basic facts about the technical realm of toxic tort claims and litigation that every lawyer should arm themselves with:
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Dealing with mysterious criminal cases requires forensic science to obtain fact-based evidence. All evidence has to be carefully examined by a forensic toxicologist, a professional who has vast knowledge of chemicals and their effects on physical matter. A forensic toxicologist in this scenario becomes an expert witness and his opinion can serve either the defense or the prosecution.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Toxic torts are lawsuits filed by or for individuals who were exposed to toxic substances, resulting in injuries, sicknesses, or other damages. For toxic tort to succeed, three things have to be proven: first, that a substance involved is toxic; second, that the plaintiff was exposed to it; and third, that the exposure to the substance indeed caused harm to the plaintiff. Unfortunately, proving these three things is easier said than done.
This is mainly because of two major challenges confronting plaintiffs: causation and latency periods. In many cases the testimony of a toxicology expert witness is needed to overcome these challenges.
Causation is self-explanatory. While toxic chemicals can indeed cause injury and sickness, other “non-toxic” factors may also lead to the same result. For example, it can be difficult to prove that a certain substance is directly responsible for causing cancer in someone, since the disease itself can be caused by heredity. Determining causation also extends to the parties involved in the incident. For instance, exposure to toxic chemicals at the workplace can be blamed on the supervisors, the chemicals’ manufacturers and distributors, and other similar groups or individuals.
The latency period, or the amount of time between exposure and the onset of injuries or sickness, can also stop a toxic tort dead in its tracks. Certain chemicals, for example, are known to cause cancer after 40 years. Defendants can argue that the plaintiff have contracted the disease from other sources that the plaintiff may also have been exposed to.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Did you know that as much as 1 in 20 patients in outpatient clinics or doctor’s offices are misdiagnosed every year? That’s according to a recent study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal. This figure does not include similar cases that may have happened in hospital settings.
Misdiagnosis can come in several forms, including those discussed below.
Doing too little
In some instances, the diagnosis completely misses the patient’s condition, or passes off a serious illness or injury as non-serious. For instance, stomach pains that are treated simply as constipation could later be found to be a case of internal bleeding or a cancerous growth. Improper diagnosis or treatment can be construed as negligence on the part of the doctor.
Doing too much
Conversely, the doctor may diagnose a patient with a serious condition. A mass detected in radiographic images and treated with cancer-fighting drugs may turn out on further examination to be benign. Excessive or unnecessary treatment which stems from erroneous medical judgments or aggressive treatment approaches can also constitute negligence.
These two main types of misdiagnosis can result to serious harm or even death, which could be grounds for a medical malpractice suit. In proving that negligence had indeed transpired, the testimony of an internal medicine or forensic toxicology expert can be helpful. Such a professional can identify deviant treatments, poisoning drugs, and other possible harmful factors that can arise from medical negligence.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
All case-winning legal arguments have one thing in common: they are transparent and informed presentations of facts that best explain the circumstances of the crime or civil issue brought before the court. However, on occasion, it may be difficult for laypersons to decipher the meaning and significance of each piece of evidence presented before a judge. In such cases, the skills of an expert witness might be necessary.
Friday, August 1, 2014
Once in a while, it’s good to have a drink with your friends; you bond and talk with them over a few shots, and simply enjoy each other’s company. However, time does fly when you’re having fun and it’s possible that you would have downed several shots more than you think you had. Such instances can result into alcohol poisoning, and if something bad does happen, a forensic toxicology specialist will help uncover the truth.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
All kinds of legal proceedings require a witness’s account to tie up all details and make sense of documents that have been gathered through a subpoena to compile evidences. There are times, however, when the narration of an ordinary witness, or even the impeachment of a hostile witness, is not enough to make judges and jurors understand certain facts and issues that involve highly technical or specialized forms of knowledge. This is where expert witnesses come in.
An expert witness can be any professional who is regarded as a respected member in their field. Expert witnesses are more commonly called in for cases involving, but are not limited to, personal injury or criminal cases wherein their testimonies are deemed to be vital in shedding light on matters involving medical science, toxicology, and other related specializations.
There are some things that distinguish an expert witness from the other types of witnesses. Expert witnesses are not necessarily related to any party in the cases where they are giving their testimony. Another distinction is that they are the only kind of witnesses allowed by the general rules of court to give opinion and draw conclusions as long as it is related to their field of expertise. Their objectivity and specialized knowledge make them vital in winning a case for or against plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit.