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While medical testimony can be crucial in winning a trial’s “battle of the experts,” the decisions made before trial begins set the stage for winning that battle. Even the most experienced attorneys walk a veritable pre-trial minefield when choosing the best expert from typical referral sources, while managing witness costs and schedules drains a practice’s time and resources.
With stakes higher than ever in medical malpractice and personal injury cases, those issues have led attorneys across the country to turn to a sophisticated network that goes far beyond simply delivering witness referrals.
“More and more attorneys are seeing the wisdom in a partner that provides support throughout the life of a case,” Dan Sandman, Esq., President of American Medical Forensic Specialists (AMFS), told CVN. “We don’t just provide a referral and walk away.”
Unlike medical-legal expert witness services that simply refer candidates, AMFS partners with its attorney clients to deliver a range of support in expert witness selection and management: from case evaluations by physician medical directors to back-end witness fee and schedule oversight.
Sandman said that deep roster of services, combined with referrals built on a network of more than 6,000 specialists nationwide, makes the company unique in the industry.
Trusted Medical Experience Drives the Process
Founded 30 years ago by an emergency room physician, AMFS continues to rely on its team’s extensive medical experience in assisting clients. Attorneys first speak with an AMFS medical director, a physician with decades of experience, who provides advice on the merits of a case and tailors the best path forward.
“They’re going to give their honest opinion on the best next steps for the case, even if sometimes that means they tell a client, ‘You may want to think twice about pursuing this,’” Sandman said. “That advice from an experienced medical professional is particularly helpful to those new to medical-legal work and medical malpractice. But our long-time clients really value it as well.”
After the consultation with an AMFS medical director, experienced researchers identify the best specialists to fit the unique needs of each client’s case. “Our medical department works in tandem with our medical directors to consider a number of different specialists. They really roundtable things to find the best possible fit,” Sandman said.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Every client has unique and specific needs. And we tailor what we do to their needs.”
Those needs can often include rush cases. Sandman said his team can fulfill requests in as little as 24 hours. “We understand that the nature of litigation is that things come up,” Sandman said. “And we’ve really honed our skills over the last 30 years to be extraordinarily proficient in meeting our clients’ needs on a very short timeline.”
The company’s broad network of experts allows the team to fulfill requests quickly, while building its reputation as the go-to partner in complex medical cases. “We excel in those areas that are particularly difficult because we have the most comprehensive network of medical and healthcare-related specialists out there,” Sandman said. “We have a truly deep bench of specialists.”
That deep bench includes only specialists who are board-certified or active in practice or academia, ensuring attorneys retain only the best-qualified experts. “With our medical and legal background, we know how critical it is in a medical malpractice or personal injury case to have someone who is current on the latest developments in medicine,” Sandman told CVN.
Ongoing Support Tailored to Each Attorney’s Needs
But AMFS support doesn’t end after an expert witness match is made. The team works with each attorney throughout the case to monitor witness billing and scheduling. That support ensures attorneys understand all costs ahead of time and eliminates many of the difficulties associated with schedule management. “It’s a single point of contact,” Sandman said, “and it really helps expert engagements go much more smoothly.”
But just as importantly, Sandman said the team can go farther, with case managers troubleshooting potential problems as they arise, while medical directors remain available to provide ongoing advice throughout the life of the case.
It’s a level of service, Sandman said, that has built a loyal slate of clients across the decades, while providing flexibility for attorneys as they grow in their practice. More experienced attorneys may need less assistance with experts, for example, while attorneys new to trying med mal cases may ask AMFS to conduct an in-depth review on a case’s viability.
Sandman said the company’s experience ensures the whole range of needs are met. And as medical malpractice and personal injury litigation becomes more complex than ever, attorneys are increasingly relying on AMFS’ singular combination of experience and support.
“We are second-to-none in the depth and breadth of service we provide,” Sandman said. "We’re more than a medical-legal witness network. We’re partners you can trust.”