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W. I. Gilbert Jr., LL.B.
JAMA. 1954;156(14):1311-1313. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950140011004.
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In about 50% of litigated cases the testimony of expert witnesses is of importance and many times crucial, for the outcome of the case may be based on the testimony of experts, whether they be in the field of real estate values, engineering, or medicine. Most witnesses are what are called fact witnesses, that is, they may testify only to what they have actually seen or heard. These witnesses are not permitted to state conclusions or opinions, while the expert is called for that specific purpose and is allowed to state his conclusions and opinions. This discussion relates to the physician as an expert witness, a role for which he is, so far as I am aware, given no schooling and one that he learns only by experience in court. For physicians not familiar with courtroom and legal procedures I will mention a few basic factors.



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