In Virginia personal injury litigation, should plaintiff’s medical expert witness review all of the plaintiff’s available medical records before the expert designation and disclosure?
Answer: Highly recommended. The expert should see the entire picture before rendering opinion. An expert who testifies in support of your case can be caught off-guard by the defense if he or she had not seen or did not know of existence of other records, which may be relevant in the expert’s evaluation. So, a typical defense counsel would cross-examine the expert as follows:
– So, Dr… in evaluating the causation or extent of plaintiff’s injuries, did you have a chance to review the records of …?
– Isn’t it because you had never seen those records?
– Is it true that you only reviewed what plaintiff (or plaintiff’s counsel) wanted you to review?
– Would you agree that the test results from … could in some way affect your opinions?
– Your honor, I move to disqualify the testimony of Dr… as an expert, because he just confirmed that there is evidence which could change his opinion but was withheld from him!
To avoid this, you also want to share with your experts all available medical records, deposition transcripts, discovery responses and any other available records which can in any way affect their opinions or conclusions.