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Korean Journal of Legal Medicine 1989;13(2):1-13.
Medical Litigation and Expert Testimony
Gook-Jin Moon
Department of Legal Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, Institute for Legal Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
As a general rule, the opinion of a witness is not admissible in Court. The ordinary witness must, with few exceptions, testify to facts within his own knowledge or facts derived from his own perception. However, expert witnesses, that is, those who are skilled in any science, art, trade, or occupation, may testify to facts within their own knowledge or they may give their opinions on assumed facts. The decision as to the qualifications of the medical expert lies in the discretion of the trial Court. It may be said generally that any licensed physician is qualified to testify as an expert regardless of the special medical subject matter under consideration; in fact, in some jurisdictions it has been held that a physician need not even be licensed in the state to qualify as an expert. In a medical litigation case, it must be shown that the expert medical witness is familiar with the degree of skill and care ordinarily possesed and exercised by reputable medical practitioners in the community, or in like communities, in the care of case similar to that which is under consideration before the Court. Medical witnesses are expected to be conscientious, honest, and impartial. It is the privilege of the medical witness to assist the Court to arrive at the truth. Justice suffers when the testimony of opposing expert witness constitutes a battle of credibility rather than of science. For the purpose of illustrating and clarifying expert testimony, the medical expert may employ photographs, maps, diagrams, medical records, X-ray films and models when they are properly verified and the foundation for their introduction into evidence is adequately laid. And this article discussed the principle and practical problems of expert testimony of medical accident.


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