What Is an Expert Witness in a Personal Injury Case?

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What Is an Expert Witness in a Personal Injury Case?

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Posted By DAM Firm | February 18 2021 | Personal Injury

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you should be entitled to various types of compensation from the at-fault party. However, securing the compensation you need can be challenging. In many cases, an injury victim receives a settlement from the insurance carriers involved. However, there are times when victims have to pursue compensation through a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Regardless of how the case proceeds, it may be necessary to involve expert witnesses in the personal injury case. Here, we want to discuss what expert witnesses are, what role they play in the case, and how they can affect compensation.

What is an expert witness?

Most people are familiar with the term “expert witness,” particularly if they have watched any procedural legal drama on TV. While you may only think that expert witnesses are called in on high-profile cases, the reality is that expert witnesses play a role in all types of personal injury cases.

It is important that we distinguish between an expert witness and an “eyewitness.” These are two completely different things. An eyewitness is simply somebody who saw the incident occur. These individuals will provide testimony about what they saw happen, but nothing else.

Expert witnesses come into a case after the injury has already occurred to provide assistance to attorneys, judges, insurance carriers, and jury members. The job of an expert witness is to help every party understand fairly complicated concepts that fall outside of general knowledge. An expert witness is a person who has an established authority around a particular aspect of the injury.

There are various qualifications that can be used to determine the credibility of an expert witness, including the following:

  • Their credentials (licensing, education, peer-reviewed publications, etc.)
  • Their previous testifying experience
  • Their reputation in their field

Who is an expert witness?

There are many types of expert witnesses that could be called to testify in a personal injury case. Some of the most common types of expert witnesses who could be called to assist in personal injury case include the following:

  • Accident reconstruction experts who will use the evidence that has been gathered as well as scientific and mathematical knowledge to recreate the incident and testify about potential liability.
  • Engineering, architectural, or technological experts who can testify about possible defects or structural issues that caused a major accident.
  • Medical experts who can provide testimony about physical, psychological, and emotional injuries that a victim has sustained.
  • Economic and financial expert witnesses who can testify about lost future earnings or other types of losses the victim has incurred or is expected to incur.

The role of the expert witness in a personal injury case

The role of the expert witness is to take any concepts that may lie outside of general knowledge and make them understandable for juries, insurance carriers, attorneys, judges, and any other person involved in the case.

An expert witness can play a major role when it comes to ensuring that a victim secures the compensation they are entitled to. Ultimately, injury victims need to work with an Orange County personal injury attorney to determine whether or not an expert witness will be beneficial to their case. If there are significant dollar amounts involved, and if the opposing side is adamant about denying a claim, an expert witness may be necessary.

It is also important to point out that the opposing side can also use expert witnesses against you in the case. In fact, it may be necessary for you to call your own expert witness to counter the expert witness testimony provided by the opposing side.

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