When a death or injury is deemed as unusual or suspicious, a Forensic Medical Examiners (FME) can apply their expertise to demystify the circumstances that may have caused it. Unsurprisingly, solicitors of Criminal Law will often require the expertise of a forensic medical examiner expert witness. By assisting the solicitor, a forensic medical examiner may uncover significant and substantial evidence that can support and shape the case as a whole. As providers of the most targeted network of medical expert witnesses, we understand the cases which require the appointment of a forensic medical examiner and how essential their role can be. We want to share why that is here.
Unlike doctors whose titles match a particular field, such as a paediatrician, gynaecologist, or ENT surgeon, FMEs are independent senior doctors with varying clinical specialities as well as backgrounds in general medicine. Their experience within forensic medicine will also be very varied. Forensic medical examiners will have applied their profound knowledge and experience to a multitude of patient cases, night and day. For example, some forensic medical examiners will have specialised in assessing victims of sexual assault, others will have gathered expertise in examining the injuries of children who are suspected of having suffered physical or sexual abuse. Forensic medical examiners will also be called out to assess those detained in custody. In these cases, their assessments will evaluate the detainee’s fitness to be interviewed and in some cases, evaluate their mental state from which they may find admission to hospital is necessary.
With such complex and sensitive cases, solicitors will often instruct a forensic medical examiner expert witness. The FME expert witness will perform in depth examinations of the existing evidence against the injuries sustained by their patient, or client of the solicitor. In doing so, they may establish the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the injury, try to determine the time scale in question – in cases of abuse this may require an assessment of previous injuries too – and ultimately ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of the patient is prioritised. In performing such assessments, the forensic medical examiner expert witness may also confirm or challenge the evidence attained thus far.
The assessment process and conclusions made will be documented by the forensic examiner expert witness in a detailed medical report. Whilst the assessments themselves will be highly specialised, the report is written for an audience that does not share the same level of expertise. The solicitor can therefore use the report directly when forming their case and deliver it as evidence to the court. The forensic medical examiner report can not only add strength and validation to the solicitor’s case, but also ensure that the court make an informed decision and therefore support fair trial.
Finding the right medical examiner for your case can be time consuming, requiring research and contacting several experts to make arrangements for meetings and court appearances, where necessary. We understand that your time is very valuable and already pressed which is why Foresight has an extensive network of approved forensic medical examiners ready to be appointed to your case. Contact us for a consultation with one of our case managers.