The Use of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases
When a personal injury case goes to trial expert witnesses are often used to support an injured victim’s claim. An expert witness is a professional who has specific technical and/or scientific knowledge in a particular subject area. Consequently, an expert witness is permitted to give his opinion while testifying, which is generally prohibited from other witnesses. For example, an eyewitness is not allowed to give his opinion about the facts of a case, he can only testify about his personal knowledge and the specific facts he actually perceived regarding the case.
Types of Expert Witnesses
There are two general categories of expert witnesses, consulting experts and testifying experts. A consulting expert advises the litigation team in preparation of litigation and does not testify during any part of the litigation process. Thus, opposing counsel does not have to know if a party is utilizing a consulting expert since these experts research material and advise the litigation team outside the court room.
On the other hand, testifying experts assist an attorney inside the courtroom and provide testimony that can be cross-examined by opposing counsel. Testifying experts objectively articulate an opinion and ultimately assist the trier of fact, judge or jury, in reaching a proper decision on the issue being faced. During the selection process, it is important for an attorney to choose an expert who has a litigation track record and the proper training, background, and education to provide expert testimony. A testifying expert can make or break a case depending on how believable their testimony is to the trier of fact.
Depending on the type of personal injury case an individual is pursuing, there are specific types of expert witnesses that can be utilized. For example, a party bringing a claim for a motor vehicle accident would benefit from having an accident reconstruction expert testify. These experts specialize in investigating accidents and can help an attorney unravel the sequence of events that resulted in the accident that caused the victim’s injury. Furthermore, an individual bringing a product liability claim would most likely pursue a manufacturing expert to take the stand. A manufacturing expert can help the jury understand how a particular product was defective and how this defect was the cause of the victim’s injury. Thus, different claims result in the need for different types of expert witnesses.
While many personal injury cases are settled prior to trial, it is important that your attorney have significant courtroom experience so you can get the best expert witnesses to defend your case. We have not only years of experience, but we will devote the necessary time and resources to investigate your claim and fight to protect your legal rights. For a free consultation, give us a call at 401-777-7777.