Expert Witness Secrets

How much can money can you make as an expert witness? [part 2 of 2]

October 30, 2021 Dr Sandeep Senghera BDS, University certified expert witness Season 3 Episode 16
Expert Witness Secrets
How much can money can you make as an expert witness? [part 2 of 2]
Show Notes

Being an expert medical witness is certainly an attractive way to form an additional income stream above and beyond your income as a clinician. What is clear from my assessment is that the income rates are typically anything between three to five times that that you would earn as a clinician, largely comparing to NHS income. 

Supply and Demand

Now, when considering income expectations, there are some obvious factors to consider. So the underpinning issue is around the demand and the supply of that relevant area of expertise. So naturally, there will be a range of expectations depending on the level of experience and expertise, and certainly sub speciality is that will be much harder to come by. So naturally, those that are in high demand of services and low supply of experts will naturally attract a higher rate of income than those where there's a much lower demand for work with a higher supply of experts. That sounds quite obvious, but it's important to think that through. The other factor to consider, of course, is the way in which you interpret your income. There'll be fixed fee work versus per hour rate income. And then of course, there's benefits to both. And there's disadvantages to both. But one of the clear things that I would encourage you to consider is the time that you require for each report on a fixed fee basis, because ultimately, your expectation of income will be based on a per hour rate similar to how lawyers will typically charge for their time, on the consideration that the income is on a per hour basis rather than being a bit over obsessed with the the fee being charged for each report. That will drive efficiency within your practice itself and certainly increase your efficiency as an expert with regards to the work that you do. 

Income surveys for comparison

There is of course annual survey, the surveys that are carried out that you can obviously access, we've included one in this particular article, we check the link in there from Bond Solon carried out every year. Next one's due in November 2020. But have a look at the levels of pay rate per hour based on the respondents in a number of different medical specialties. And then when you're considering what your income may actually become over time, it might be worth considering your capacity or area of expertise and the indicative levels of per hour rate. And that way you can carry out a simple calculation to work out what your anticipated income may be based on your capacity, and based on your area of expertise depending on your speciality. 

Reviewing your payment terms

The other consideration is your ability to review from time to time, what your terms with your instructing parties are. Now, as an expert who's perhaps new or is inexperienced, there's obviously the need to demonstrate an element of flexibility and being able to demonstrate your willingness to work. And that can come in different ways, most obvious of which is the setting the fees. But of course, there's other benefits that the instructing party might want to see beyond that, such as being a consistently high level of service, and also making it clear that you are open and engaging and attracting more work. For those that are more experienced, of course, later in their careers, there's the important need to formally review fees and terms to make sure that you are clearly demonstrating your progress within there. 

Plan your income potential and capacity

So my summary thoughts really are consider expert witness work as an additional stream of income that can complement your clinical work and also give you further financial security. And I want you to also think about that setting some goals and some indication of what your expectations are beyond the next report, try and think beyond that the next s