The potential success of a personal injury case is often connected to how well the victim and his or her lawyer can explain the facts and issues involved. Experienced personal injury lawyers know the value that an expert witness can provide in some cases and can offer recommendations on when it is in your best interest to hire one.
Our legal team at Greg Monforton and Partners is prepared to review your situation and clarify any questions you may have about the legal process during a free consultation.
How Are Expert Witnesses Different From Lay Witnesses?
Witnesses in personal injury cases are typically divided into two groups: lay witnesses and expert witnesses. A lay witness is someone who is not an expert but who can provide useful information about things that he or she observed, such as how an accident happened.
In contrast, an expert witness is someone with unique knowledge, skill, experience, training or education that makes him or her uniquely qualified to discuss certain issues. An expert witness does not discuss what he or she observed; instead, he or she provides an expert opinion about an issue in conflict in the case, such as the extent of a victim’s injuries and how these injuries are linked to the accident.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can be important during settlement negotiations or at trial. Their opinions may be able to persuade insurance companies and opposing parties to agree to a favorable settlement. During a trial, they can provide insight, facts and opinions to educate juries about the issues involved in the case.
There are generally two categories of expert witnesses: consulting experts or testifying experts. Consulting experts help explain certain issues involved in a case but do not actually testify in court. However, their use in a case can be instrumental in explaining complex information to the personal injury lawyer.
A testifying expert witness is someone who provides testimony in open court. He or she explains important information to the judge or jury.
Within these two classifications, there are many types of expert witnesses in a variety of industries. Some examples of these expert witnesses and how they can help in a personal injury case include:
- Economic expert – An economic expert can help determine the economic impact of an injury on a person and his or her earning capacity.
- Rehabilitation specialist – This type of expert can discuss the future medical needs of a victim.
- Accident reconstructionist – These experts analyze information related to an accident and help explain how an accident occurred.
- Mental health expert – Mental and behavioral health experts can discuss the mental impact an injury or accident has on a victim.
- Medical expert – In medical malpractice cases, a medical expert witness can discuss the appropriate standard of care and how the doctor deviated from it. Medical experts may also discuss the extent and likely cause of a victim’s injuries.
- Manufacturing expert – These experts can discuss how products were defectively designed, manufactured or marketed.
Qualifications of an Expert Witness
Before a witness can be classified as an “expert” in court, your lawyer needs to qualify him or her, which requires showing:
- The potential witness has unique technical, scientific or specialized knowledge
- The witness’ testimony has a sufficient basis in facts
- The witness can help the jury determine a fact at issue or understand the evidence
- The witness’ testimony is based on reliable methods and principles
- The witness reliably applied these methods and principles to the facts of the case
Call for Legal Help
If you have been harmed in an accident caused by negligence, an expert witness may be impactful to your potential case. The Windsor personal injury lawyers from our firm are ready to discuss your rights and determine your legal options in a free and confidential consultation.
There is no obligation to take legal action and no upfront fees to utilize our services. You only pay us if we help you obtain a recovery.
We are standing by to take your call. (866) 240-9274.