Juries in personal injury cases generally hear two versions of the medical facts, each presented by an opposing group of experts. If this isn't confusing enough, there's also testimony about the medical facts from the treating doctors, who may not agree with any of the experts. The treating doctors might disagree with each other too.
How can you help the jury sort it out? If the better set of experts and treating physicians is on your side, emphasize this point with a chart that compares your doctors and experts to their doctors and experts. Here are some points of comparison you might use:
- Where the doctors went to medical school;
- The doctors' board certifications;
- The doctors' research interests;
- The doctors' publishing history;
- The doctors' teaching experience.
In closing, you can use the chart to point out that the most qualified doctors and experts support your view of the case. Example: "You heard a lot in this case about a diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis, which was presented mostly through the testimony of Dr. Jones. Remember Dr. Jones? He's the doctor who said he's not yet board certified, though he's 'working on it.' Let's take a closer look at Dr. Jones--let's compare his credentials to those of Dr. Smith, who disagreed with him about the diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis. Dr. Smith should know about adhesive capsulitis. He's treated it every single day, day in and day out, for more than twenty-five years. He's published more than thirty articles specifically on the topic -- adhesive capsulitis has been his primary research interest since just after he graduated from Harvard medical school. Not only is Dr. Smith board-certified in orthopedic surgery, but he helps to write and administer the board-certification exam to new doctors and teaches orthopedic surgery to medical students. Now let's look at Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones isn't board certified, has never published on adhesive capsulitis, and has only done original research about knees, not shoulders. Although he treats shoulders in his practice, he's only been doing it for two years--no, sorry, only a year and a half, only eighteen months."
The example is a little over-the-top but you get the idea. Although the example relies on only a few points of comparison, there might be many others in any given case. Don't wait until your closing argument to start thinking about them. Instead, get into the habit of viewing the medical part of the case through a points-of-comparison lens. If you do, you'll automatically think about comparisons as you prepare the case, especially when you review C.V.s and depose the treating doctors and experts.