Our firm has spent a lot of time, effort and energy trying to get an honest answer that defense experts sedulously avoid: how much do you make testifying in accident cases and how much have you made from this law firm/insurance company?
I think we have fought this issue as hard as anyone in Maryland, recently getting a helpful Maryland Court of Appeals opinion that makes more clear what Maryland law is on the expert’s obligation to produce financial records.
I know a lot of insurance defense attorneys in Maryland think we do this to harass their experts. I get why they think this. There is too much gamesmanship in Maryland accident cases between plaintiffs’ accident lawyers and the insurance companies. Both sides are guilty of this. But with this expert issue, jurors care more about bias than they do the doctor’s pedigree. We care about this issue so much because we think it makes a difference to jurors.
This does not mean that jurors think or even I think because an expert makes an enormous amount of money for testifying, it means that the expert is lying. I think there are some experts – including some defense experts – who testify regularly and still shoot straight. But let’s not kid ourselves either: there are a lot of frequent flyer experts whose opinions are colored by who is paying them.
- Cross-examining defense experts: ideas on cross-examination (includes an interesting comment by a well respected Maryland doctor on whether gross income is relevant)