How an Expert Witness Helps Determine the Outcome of Your Injury Lawsuit
Witness testimonies are a big help in a successful trial strategy. In addition to providing much-needed information, an eyewitness’s portrayal of what happened can greatly influence the court in your favor. Unfortunately, when a witness is speaking for the other side, his testimony can also steer the court or the jury against you.
However, you can fight back. In many cases, an expert witness can be more persuasive than an eyewitness. If you have an expert witness on your side, a bystander’s testimony will seem of little consequence.
What Makes a Witness an Expert
An expert witness is essentially any professional who has specific technical, scientific, or medical knowledge of a particular subject. During trials, an expert witness can be brought in to discuss specific facets of the accident, such as giving his educated opinion on what could have caused the injuries or helping to determine liability.
Unfortunately, since expert witnesses are professionals, they can be expensive and hard to schedule. As a result, these types of witnesses are generally used only when a contested issue will make or break a case, and clarification is required.
Common experts used as trial witnesses include:
- Medical experts. Medical professionals can clarify how injuries may have occurred, the extent of injuries, or the recovery and treatment required.
- Engineering experts. Engineers can help illustrate how an accident occurred.
- Manufacturing experts. Manufacturing experts can provide insight into how machines work, and shed light on what could have gone wrong to cause the accident.
- Financial experts. Economists can help the court understand the expenses involved in a recovery, as well as the damage an injury can have on your family and finances. Their testimony can demonstrate the need for compensation or even establish a specific settlement amount.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert can literally show the court how an accident occurred from start to finish. This can help prove liability.
The credibility of an expert can carry more clout in the courtroom far better than the memories of a bystander. An expert witness’ testimony could be the definitive factor ultimately influences the decision in your favor.
What Happens When Expert Witnesses Disagree?
In some cases, each side may have expert witnesses who provide conflicting testimonies. In these situations, your attorney has an opportunity to either work with the opposing side to clear up the matter or attempt to discredit the opposing witness’ testimony.
- Working together to get a consensus testimony. In some cases, opposing testimonies from expert witnesses can be debated amongst the experts in order to derive a common conclusion. In some courts, this process is referred to as “hot-tubbing.” Essentially, hot-tubbing allows the two experts to debate and talk through their points until they reach a common agreement on facts and interpretation.
- Working to discredit the opposing testimony. If “hot-tubbing” doesn’t work out, your attorney may attempt to discredit the other expert. He can do this by showing flaws in the testimony or by showing weakness in the opposing expert’s credentials or prior actions. This will undermine the witness’s testimony by creating doubt about the his reliability.
When Do You Need an Expert Witness?
Your attorney is the best guide to whether a witness is needed to help a case. If you’re unsure of whether your claim would benefit from the testimony of an expert, don’t hesitate to ask for the guidance of Steve Lee. Attorney Lee has over two decades’ worth of experience with personal injury cases and can be an invaluable resource to strengthen your case. Contact our office today to schedule your FREE, no-obligation case review. You won’t regret it.