As every attorney knows, strong, believable expert testimony can make or break a case. But with all the variables that go into any docket, finding the one expert who can deliver the kind of compelling, persuasive evidence required to sway a judge or jury in your favor can be like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.
At MEL, we’ve got the advantage of having our own “special weapon” to tackle the sometimes daunting task of locating the perfect expert witness whose background and qualifications assure the kind of relevant, persuasive, case-winning testimony attorneys seek. With a double-decade-plus career as both a Registered Nurse and legal medical support professional, Wilma Couch has earned the unofficial title of MEL’s “In-house Expert Expert.” Wilma, who has 25 years’ experience working with attorneys nationwide on thousands of complex and diverse litigations, credits MEL’s solid success rate for landing case-appropriate experts time and again with several key factors:
A Holistic Approach
According to the “Expert Expert,” the most important aspect in winning any case is to be as well prepared as possible as early as possible. “You’ve got to have as much relevant data as you can gather, right down to the smallest details,” says Wilma. “Having as much information you can get about a case helps attorneys determine which medical records need to be requested,” Wilma explains, “any and all medical records, X-rays, lab reports, sometimes, even billing statements-and thanks to our nurse training, MEL’s staff is uniquely qualified to assess and request which records are truly pertinent to any given case.”
MEL never reaches out for expert testimony, be from it a doctor or product engineer, until they have a thorough understanding of the facts of the case. That’s why MEL’s standard procedure for procuring expert testimony involves not only getting acquainted with the people involved on both sides of the docket, but also reviewing all available relevant medical documentation first-hand prior to reaching out to a potential witness. “It’s crucial that all the relevant records are in place before you approach an expert,” says Wilma, “because having what you need at your fingertips is going to save the experts valuable time, and save the attorneys who hire them money.”
Be On The Same Page
Knowing a case forward and back is well and good, but being able to speak the same professional language can sometimes be a deciding factor in persuading a busy expert to testify on your client’s behalf. “Thanks to the extensive medical background of myself and MEL’s staff,” notes Wilma, “we’re able to ask a potential witness the right questions, as well as help them see how their specific input can make the difference between justice being served, or justice being denied.” Wilma says more than one doctor has told her that if it weren’t for MEL’s concise understanding of the relevant facts, they’d never have testified. “And it was often that testimony that won our client’s case,” she adds.
Have a Killer Database
“We’ve been at this a long time,” Wilma says proudly, “so our roster of professional experts has a mighty long reach.” Even in the landscape of emerging medicine and advancing technology, Wilma says that if one of MEL’s current experts isn’t the perfect fit for a particular case, they can recommend someone who is. “Doctors routinely keep abreast of current trends,” she says, “so they know who’s in the know.”
Tenacious With a Capital “T”
As every attorney knows, when timing is critical, the difference between a voice mail and a conversation in real time can be crucial to a case, but many events that can have critical impact in a case don’t necessarily occur during office hours. “Because we establish a real rapport with our experts, we’re able to reach our experts where someone else might not have access. We go that extra mile to get a home phone, a personal email, or cell number, so our clients are much more likely to be able to speak with that witness in a timely fashion if they need to-even after the switchboard shuts down,” Wilma says.
Being prepared. Years of shared, relevant experience. Access to an impressive stable of experts, and not taking “no” for an answer . . . These are all the things that set our “Expert Expert” apart, and what assures you that the expert MEL finds to testify will give you the best chance of a strong and profitable settlement.