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How Much Physician Expert Witnesses Charge or Get Paid by Specialty, with Average Fees and Rates

Expert witness work is a popular side hustle for doctors, as it allows them to use their unique expertise and experience in a new, nonclinical way, and tends to pay very well relative to some other physician side gigs with similar qualities. One thing we’ve noticed in our physician Facebook groups and from our physician expert witness database is that physicians often ask “How much do physician expert witnesses get paid?” or “How much should I charge as a physician expert witness fee?” Our members want to ask for what is fair in the marketplace as a competitive rate, but often don’t know what the average rate is. Without some sort of reference point, physicians are likely to not charge as high of a fee as they should, simply because they don’t know their worth in this space. About 5% of the many thousands of members in our database indicated they weren’t sure what their desired fee was. Another 15% didn’t include a desired rate, combining for a potential 20% of our respondents unclear of what they should charge as physician expert witnesses.

Alongside our doctor salary by specialty series, we also wanted to dive into compensation statistics and trends for our most popular physician side gigs. Below, we analyzed over 3,500 data points to provide anonymous data to help our physician members know their worth when assessing and negotiating expert witness side gig opportunities. Please note that your fees and rates may vary considerably based on several factors discussed below.

Disclaimers/Disclosures: This information is derived from our physician side gigs database, but is subject to self-reporting errors and availability of relevant data points from our online communities. This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is aimed at advocating for individual physicians. It is not intended to be used for collective bargaining; please see additional disclosures and disclaimers on the physician salary data pages. Please also do your own research before making any decisions based on the information provided. We do not provide individualized advice and are not formal licensed financial or legal professionals.

A percent distribution of what physician expert witnesses charge in fees per hour.

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Additional Expert Witness Resources for Doctors

Interested in joining our expert witness database to be alerted when we have opportunities that match your criteria? Join our Physician Side Gigs Facebook group to sign up for this and other side gig databases that interest you. The group and databases are completely free to join, but you must be a member of the group to access the database to help us keep these opportunities available only to physicians.

Learn more about expert witness work with:

You can also explore other popular side hustle ideas for doctors.

How Much Do Physician Expert Witnesses Charge or Get Paid (Average Fees)?

The average physician expert witness fee our members requested to charge across all specialties, locations, and time periods was around $475/hour.

The range of the desired fee varied significantly. Some fee rates reported were as low as $100/hour, while others were as high as $2,000/hour.

The majority of our physicians report a desired expert witness rate between $300-$600/hr. In general, our primary care doctors listed expert witness fees toward the bottom of this range and our specialists’ rates were toward the top.

Note that many physician expert witnesses reported one set hourly rate or a minimum desired hourly rate, which is what we primarily explore below. Seasoned doctor expert witnesses broke down their responses further into rates by type of work, which can vary significantly. We look into trends for their different rates as well.

In general, the smaller specialties tend to get paid more or demand a higher rate because it’s harder to find physicians that can take on cases. For example, in a field like plastic surgery where the number of plastic surgeons produced every year is very low, there just aren’t that many options for lawyers looking for an expert witness that is able to take the case when they need it.

What Specific Factors Determine Whether I Can Charge More or Less Than the Average Expert Witness Rates for My Physician Specialty?

Before we dive into averages by subspecialty, there are some other things you should keep in mind that will influence what side of the averages you may choose to charge or physician expert witnesses may get paid:

Common factors that determine your physician expert witness rate

  • Number of physicians with your specific expertise: the more niche your experience, the more likely you are to be able to charge more because the lawyer will have a harder time finding someone similar to you. This could be because you are a key opinion leader in a space, because you have a very niche practice (for example, a surgeon that fixes specific complications), or because you’ve published a lot of research in the space.

  • Number of years of experience: Not surprisingly, those with more experience tend to get paid more. Part of this may be that they know their worth more, part may be that they make a more attractive expert witness, and part may be that they are less likely to do expert witness work unless it’s worth their while or truly offsets the opportunity cost of time off (if applicable) or time way from their families. In general, with all side gig opportunities such as medical surveys, we see that younger physicians with more bills and debt tend to take lower rates, whereas older physicians tend to consider what else they could be doing with their time more.

  • Specific location: if a lawyer needs a doctor in a specific location, again there will be less options.

  • Who is paying the expenses? Unfortunately for the person paying the bills, if this is a pass through expense for a lawyer who knows they’re getting paid (for example, if the lawyer is not getting paid on contingency of the case going in their favor and they’re not sure they’re going to win it), they may be willing to pay more since their client will be paying it. If it’s possible their firm may have to shoulder the cost, they’re more likely to negotiate harder with you.

  • How much you want to do it: As we know, your best tool at the negotiating table is when you’re willing to walk away from it. As alluded to above in the number of years of experience section, those that are lukewarm about taking on a case will probably ask for more to really make it worth their while.

Not surprisingly, market research forces dominate, so as a rule of thumb when setting your rates, ask yourself, how easy is it for a lawyer to find someone like me? 

How Much Physician Expert Witnesses Charge by Specialization

As we’ve seen in our physician salary by specialty series, doctor pay can vary significantly by specialization. We wanted to evaluate if the same held true for side gig opportunities like expert witness fees. Spoiler alert: it did.

What Fees Do Primary Care Physician Expert Witnesses Charge?

We start by looking at what fees physician expert witnesses in our primary care fields charge. If we had enough relevant data points, we also broke these specialties down further into sub-specialization to see if the average desired fee changed.

How much primary care physician expert witnesses charge

Overall, our primary care physicians doing expert witness work ask for pay ranging from $350-$450/hour.

Average Family Medicine Physician Expert Witness Work Rates

Our family medicine physicians have an average desired fee of $340/hour, which is one of the lowest we see by specialty in our expert witness database. Subspecialists in this field showed higher requested pay rates, such as:

  • Hospitalist: $390

  • Sports medicine: $400

  • Urgent care: $425

How much family medicine doctors charge for expert witness work by specialty

Average Internal Medicine Physician Expert Witness Work Rates

Similarly, our internal medicine doctors reported on the low range of expert witness fees requested with an average of $385/hour. We didn’t have enough data to break down many of the subtypes, but internal medicine hospitalists charge a similar hourly rate of $375/hour.

Average Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician Expert Witness Work Rates

Our general OB/GYN physicians had an average desired expert witness fee of $440/hour. We didn’t have enough data to assess all sub-specialties, but let’s look at a few:

  • Maternal fetal medicine: $500

  • Reproductive endocrinology & infertility: $570

  • Urogynecology: $500

How much OB GYN expert witnesses charge by sub-specialty

In general, our OBGYN subspecialists charge higher expert witness rates for their time and expertise.

Average Pediatrics Expert Witness Physician Work Rates

Our general pediatricians had an average desired fee of $365/hour. As we saw with OB-GYNs, our pediatric specialties charge higher average hourly rates.

  • Cardiology: $500

  • Critical care: $420

  • Emergency medicine: $440

  • Gastroenterology: $490

  • Neonatology: $445

How much pediatric expert witnesses get paid by the hourly fee they charge

Similar to our findings for average pediatrician salaries by specialization, we see that cardiology and neonatology are among the higher paid sub-specialties.

How Much Specialist Physician Expert Witnesses Charge or Get Paid by Specialty

Along with our primary care doctors above and our surgeons below, we also checked the average desired expert witness fees among other specialties within our physician expert witness database. Here’s how the specialties that we had enough data points for stack up.

What fee specialist physician expert witnesses charge by specialty

  • Allergy and immunology: $460

  • Anesthesiology: $490

  • Cardiology: $460

  • Dermatology: $550

  • Emergency medicine: $420

  • Endocrinology: $415

  • Gastroenterology: $520

  • Geriatric medicine: $425

  • Hematology/oncology: $515

  • Infectious diseases: $450

  • Nephrology: $490

  • Neurology: $540

  • Occupational & environmental medicine: $495

  • Ophthalmology: $530

  • Otolaryngology (ENT): $540

  • Pathology: $515

  • PM&R: $600

  • Psychiatry: $485

  • Pulmonary (& critical care): $450

  • Radiation oncology: $490

  • Radiology: $495

  • Rheumatology: $450

  • Urology: $545

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians charge the highest average desired expert witness fee, followed by dermatology and urology, which all average around or above $550/hour.

Among our specialties, emergency medicine, endocrinology, and geriatric medicine had the lowest expert witness fees around $425/hour.

If you have an expert witness opportunity offer and you don’t know if the rate you’re being offered is fair, you can always ask the hive mind in our physician Facebook groups for their insights and experience.

How Much Do Surgeon Expert Witnesses Charge or Get Paid (Average Rates)?

Surgery is another common specialty with many sub-specialization options that we can further break down to see difference in expert witnesses fees charged:

  • General surgery: $465

  • Colon & rectal surgery: $525

  • Head & neck surgery: $565

  • Neurosurgery: $615

  • Orthopedic surgery: $710

  • Plastic surgery: $735

  • Trauma surgery: $515

  • Vascular surgery: $545

How much surgeons charge for expert witness

We see a significant range in the requested pay for expert witness work among surgeons, with general surgery being the lowest while plastic & reconstructive surgeons make the most.

What Expert Witnesses Fees Do Doctors Charge by Location?

We’ve seen huge salary swings for physicians depending on what state they live in for our physician salary by specialty series, so we looked at some of the most populous states among our members to see if what doctors get paid for expert witness work varied depending on where the opportunity existed.

How much physician expert witnesses charge based on their location/state

  • Arizona: $460

  • California: $510

  • Colorado: $460

  • Florida: $480

  • Georgia: $470

  • Illinois: $485

  • Indiana: $445

  • Michigan: $465

  • New Jersey: $450

  • New York: $440

  • North Carolina: $460

  • Ohio: $430

  • Pennsylvania: $480

  • Texas: $450

  • Virginia: $495

While we noticed variation across states, physician expert witness fees averaged in general between $425-$525/hour, which isn’t as large a difference as with doctor salaries.

Fly-in expert witness work may be available, so physicians have the opportunity to search for out of state opportunities that pay better, but scheduling for expert witness trials and expert witness testimony can be difficult–especially when coordinating travel arrangements–for doctors around their clinical schedules.

How Much Do Physician Expert Witnesses Charge or Get Paid Depending on the Type of Work?

While reviewing our expert witness database, we noticed that while the majority of physicians listed one desired rate, some of our more seasoned expert witness doctors included multiple fees, as you would traditionally see in an expert witness fee schedule.

While we didn’t have enough data to break down above what physician expert witnesses charge for all aspects of a typical fee schedule, we were able to qualitatively look at the fee schedules provided by different doctors to draw some overall conclusions.

Typical expert witness fees included in determining what doctors typically charge include:

  • Case review fee or hourly rate (use the above averages for guidance here)

  • Deposition fee or hourly rate

  • Trial fee or court fee

  • Minimum hours for review

  • Retainer amount

Example physician expert witness fee schedule

The deposition fee on average was around $100/hour more than the case review fee. Some expert witness doctors expressed a flat fee per day or per half day for their trial fee, while others charged a trial hourly rate on par with or slightly higher than their disposition rate.

Retainers averaged around 4-5 hours as a minimum, and some noted that retainers are non-refundable, giving our physician expert witnesses a guaranteed minimum pay for their expert witness opportunity.

Others noted they had minimum hours required for depositions and trial days.

Changes in Physician Expert Witnesses Fees Over Time

Rates can change over time with inflation, so we also wanted to take a quick look to see if what fees our physician expert witnesses charge changed over the years that we’ve had our database.

How what expert witness fees physicians charge have changed, by year

  • 2018: $400/hour

  • 2019: $405/hour

  • 2020: $485/hour

  • 2021: $495/hour

  • 2022: $470/hour

  • 2023: $480/hour

While the average rates jumped around during the COVID pandemic years, we do see a general trend where what physician expert witnesses charge is increasing with time.


While different factors can influence what expert witness doctors charge and get paid, we were able to see some general trends by evaluating our database of physician expert witnesses. On average, expert witness fees range from $300-$600/hr, with primary care physicians charging the least and specialists like PM&R, dermatologists, and urologists get paid the most.

Most physician expert witnesses charge more than one type of fee, with their fees clearly laid out in their expert witness fee schedule.

Interested in expert witness work but new to this side hustle?

Explore our expert witness work for physicians primer, where we cover what to expect and how to get started. Check out our expert witness resources for physicians above to sign-up for notifications on physician expert witness opportunities.

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