Expert witnesses are hired in injury and death cases because they're supposed to be unbiased and objective. But both sides gets to bring their own experts. Experts hired by plaintiffs (you) deliver opinions that help the plaintiff's case. Experts hired by defendants are paid to deliver an opinion that helps disprove your claims.
It isn't unusual for a defense expert to say you aren't hurt as severely as you're claiming to be - or that you're not hurt at all. That's what they're paid to say. Some defense experts are legitimate and, in order to come to their opinion, you meet them and they perform an exam on you as well as review your records. We also see defense experts who don't ever review your records - not even once - and who don't even see you or perform an exam on you before they deliver their expert opinion to the Court. These "experts" are nothing more than puppets for the insurance company.
These “experts” are dangerous and make it even more imperative to have their opinion stricken by showing the court that they are unreliable and unbelievable.
That is exactly what we did in a Jones Act case when the defense hired Dr. Gary Freeman, a Houston-based orthopedic surgeon, as their medical expert. Dr. Freeman regularly acts as an expert witness in injury cases, assesses and treats workers’ compensation clients in Texas, and teaches and lectures on the subject of being a medical witness all over the country.
Dr. Freeman has been used as an expert witness in numerous cases in Houston, and he is only one of the many medical experts called by the defense in these kinds of cases. At VB Attorneys, we have many years of experience dealing with expert witnesses making preposterous claims about our clients’ health, and we know how to make sure the real truth is heard.
Our client was working as a deckhand when he fell down a slick staircase and sustained injuries that prevented him from working. When his company stopped paying his maintenance and cure benefits, he hired us to take his case.
During the deposition, Dr. Freeman offered the following opinion:
- His examination of the client showed “nothing wrong” and no injuries were related to his fall.
- Surgery was not needed, and “to perform it would be below the standard of care.”
- He had formed an opinion about whether or not the client would need surgery—before he examined him—based on the evidence and his knowledge, experience, and previous work with our client’s doctor.
- He stated that our client reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) six weeks after the accident and could have returned to work.
When asked about our client’s ability to return to work, Dr. Freeman commented that there is “no hope ‘til it goes through the legal saga.” He then referred to the maritime industry as an “invisible industrial injury industry” in which people “make money off of non-meritorious claims.” It seemed like, even with the facts of his injury, our client had been minimized and discounted unfairly right out of the gate.
Brian cross-examined Dr. Freeman at his deposition in the case. During the deposition, Brian flipped Dr. Freeman's "expert" testimony. Watch the full video to see Dr. Freeman had to say:
- People who have lawsuits lie about their injuries and past medical history
- Just because you have never had back pain and then experience serious back pain after falling down a flight of metal stairs doesn't mean they have anything to do with the other.
- Dr. Freeman won't stand by his written opinion about our client's injuries.
- Other cases Dr. Freeman testified in showing the Court doesn't think the doctor's opinions are believable.
- Dr. Freeman has given lectures on how to convince juries, told a seminar full of people that he was less ethical than lawyers.
Dr. Freeman is not believable.
The duty of the expert witness is to provide the court with an unbiased, objective opinion. From the start, Dr. Freeman appears to have an obvious bias, and it is clear that there have been similar questions in past cases. He understands and teaches techniques on how to convince juries, including giving examples of unethical practices in his lectures. As Brian carefully demonstrates, Dr. Freeman is not believable.
In this case, Brian was able to successfully discredit Dr. Gary Freeman and help our client negotiate a significant settlement for his injuries and losses.
Read more about this case: D&S Marine Services Settles Lawsuit Brought by Injured Deckhand