Federal Rules of Evidence: Laying the Foundation for Medical Expert’s Testimony at Trial

Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (“Rule 702”) and the principles set out in the relevant court practice govern the admissibility of expert witnesses.

Rule 702 states:

A witness who has been qualified as an expert in knowledge, skills, experience, education or training may testify in the form of a conclusion or otherwise if:
(a) The expert’s scientific, technical or other knowledge will help the real person understand the evidence or establish the fact in question;
(b) Testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
Testimony is the product of reasonable principles and methods; And
d) The expert has reliably applied principles and methods to the facts of the case. “

The court must ensure that the expert’s testimony is reliable and relevant to the task at hand. To this end, the federal courts have prepared a three-stage analysis:
(1) The witness must be qualified as an expert according to his knowledge, skills, experience, education or training;
(2) The expert’s reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony must be scientifically sound; And
(3) Testimony should help the real person understand the evidence or establish the fact in question. The expert evidence party must demonstrate these factors through the predominance of evidence.

Federal proof rules provide flexibility in allowing a direct hearing of an expert witness. A typical expert organization includes:


Education, training and experience;

3) Notice (me); And

4) Reasons for imprisonment (a)

Below is a guide in which a medical examiner can ask the court specific questions:

Expert witness presentation:

1) Who is the expert?

Doctor, please include your name for the record.

A. Dr. John Smith

What are you doing?

A. I’m a doctor.

Do you specialize in a particular field?

A. Yes, I specialize in orthopedics.

B. Doctor, explain to the jury what you mean by orthopedics.

2) What did the expert do?

Doctor, do you know the prosecution?

A. Yes.

How did you meet the applicant?

A. She became my patient in 2014.

Under what circumstances?

A. I was an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital when she was brought in.

3) Can I trust an expert?

Doctor, have you been paid for your work in this case?

A. Yes.

Does this include time spent in court?

A. Yes.

Tell us how you will be reimbursed.


What is your salary at the moment?


Do you get paid to be here today?

A. Yes, at my hourly rate.

Moving to backstory and qualifications

B. Doctor, let’s now look at your medical education and experience.

The backstory of the expert witness:

1) Education and training

2) Experience

“Opinions or more”

Now that a medical professional is represented and his background and qualifications are known, it is time for the health care professional to give his opinion. Again, the Federal 702 Proof Rule provides some flexibility.

Ph. Doctor, how did you come to the conclusion about the cause of the applicant’s back injury?

A. I have come to the conclusion that the back injury was caused by a collision with a car on January 1, 2014.

Ph. Doctor, is your opinion medically sound?

A. Yes.

The reason for the advice

The tribunal’s analysis does not end with the conclusion that the expert is allowed to testify on a particular issue. Indeed, the courts have held that even a highly qualified expert cannot enter the courtroom and express his views unless these conclusions are based on a recognized scientific method.

Specifically, the work of an expert is permissible only if he is motivated, uses methods of discipline and is based on data. Talking about the cuff – without the use of data or analysis – is an unacceptable methodology. In fact, the main purpose of this custody requirement is to ensure that the expert, whether he bases his testimony on professional studies or on his personal experience, maintains in court the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of ‘expert in the relevant field’. . To that end, the court should check whether the findings were based on scientific methods and procedures and whether the evidence was supported by facts.

1) Sources of opinions

As noted above, it is important that you provide the sources of information that the health professional relied on. This shows that the medical examiner has received all the important information to ensure that his opinion is reliable.

2) Reason for advice

The last step is to ask the health care professional about the reason for each opinion. The traditional approach is to ask immediately after the opinion has been expressed. For example:

B. Doctor, can you explain to the jury why you think the complainant’s back injury was caused by a collision with a car on January 1, 2014?

3) Exhibitions and visual aids

It may be interesting to introduce the practitioner into Teacher mode with exhibitions or visual manuals illustrating his testimony.

B. Doctor, you brought a lumbar spine model today, didn’t you?

A. Yes.

B. Does this model accurately display bones, muscles, ligaments and other structures of the lumbar spine?

A. It does

Will this help explain the reasons for your opinion?

A. Absolutely.

Using the model, the doctor explains why a back injury in charge will never have a normal range of motion.


In conclusion, the federal rules of evidence and related jurisprudence form the basis for the medical examiner’s work in court. Following the guidelines outlined above, an injury lawyer can guarantee that the testimony of his medical examiner will be found to be admissible in court.

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