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Addiction Medicine Expert Witnesses

The expert insight you need in lawsuits involving addiction and substance abuse

Addiction medicine is a medical specialty that deals with the treatment of addiction. Because of the nature of addiction, this is an interdisciplinary specialty that includes elements of psychology, public health, internal medicine, and social work. Incorporated within the specialty are the processes of detoxification, rehabilitation, harm reduction, abstinence-based treatment, individual and group therapies, oversight of halfway houses, treatment of withdrawal-related symptoms, acute intervention, and long-term therapies designed to reduce the likelihood of relapse.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that about 40% of its members are psychiatrists. The remainder are specialists in other fields.

There are two ways for doctors to become addiction medicine specialists in the United States. Board-Certified psychiatrists can seek a Certificate in Added Qualifications in Addiction Psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Doctors in any specialty can seek a certificate from the American Board of Addiction Medicine following a peer-reviewed Board-type examination.

How an addiction medicine expert can support an injury case

Addiction intersects with the law in a variety of matters, from injuries caused by individuals under the influence of drugs to medical treatment that includes potentially addictive drugs. There are several ways an addiction medicine doctor can help an injury attorney build a stronger case:

  • If a client was injured in an accident that was caused by someone who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the addiction medicine doctor can provide expert testimony on the effects of addiction and substance abuse on behavior and decision-making. This can be invaluable in establishing liability and proving the damages suffered by the client.
  • Addiction medicine doctors can also provide assessments and evaluations of clients who have potential addiction issues related to their injuries. For example, if a client is suffering from chronic pain and needs potentially addictive painkillers, an addiction medicine doctor can evaluate the client, develop a treatment plan that can help them manage their pain while avoiding addiction, and explain the cost of such a treatment plan.
  • An addiction medicine doctor can also be an invaluable resource in psychiatric malpractice cases that involve substandard care for a patient with a history of addiction. For example, a medical expert can opine on whether the standards of care were followed in rehabilitation or relapse prevention and whether a doctor should be liable for a patient’s preventable relapse or overdose.

Beyond contributing expert testimony, addiction medicine doctors can provide advice and guidance to injury attorneys on how to best represent clients with addiction issues. This can include strategies for communicating with clients, understanding the challenges they face, and working with other healthcare professionals to ensure that clients receive the support and care they need.

Talk to an addiction medicine expert today

Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants includes highly qualified addiction medicine doctors who are prepared to serve as consultants and provide expert testimony at trial if necessary. If you need an addiction medicine expert witness or would like to discuss a potential case, contact us today.

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