You hear lawyers call expert witnesses to the stand, and you may have wondered what expert witnesses do and their role in civil or criminal cases.
The lawyer hires an expert witness for personal injury cases to review facts in situations where their opinion holds weight given their education and experience. Then, they will prepare a report based on their professional opinion to strengthen your case.
For example, an expert witness in engineering can testify in your car accident case showing with data and facts that the defendant was at fault for the crash. This expert opinion can help you obtain a fair settlement for the injuries you suffered in the car accident caused by the defendant.
Who Can Be Expert Witnesses
An expert witness refers to anyone with qualified knowledge, skill, training, or education in a specialized field. They will give a testimony based on the facts they see and analyze.
Some of the individuals that you would encounter in the role of an expert witness in a personal injury case include:
- Insurance investigators
- Forensic scientists, etc.
The information that an expert witness gives will serve as evidence for the personal injury case.
What Responsibilities Does an Expert Witness Have?
After your lawyer calls the expert witness to the stand, they must provide factual information. Many professionals go to the stand (or provide documents/testimonies during settlement negotiations) to provide valuable information. If it will help the lawyer's case, they will use them.
An injury lawyer based in Indianapolis follows the same principles as a lawyer anywhere else. Everyone uses expert witnesses where it would make sense. Expert witnesses serve a role in helping the judge and jury to understand the full scope of the case, its factual details, technical specifications, etc.
For example, when the expert witness testifies that the car broke because of a defective part, it is clear that such information will strengthen a plaintiff’s case suing a car manufacturer for their injuries or damages.
You May Also Check: 9 Amazing Qualities Of A Personal Injury Lawyer
Who Chooses The Expert Witness?
The lawyer for the injured person will choose an expert witness, but the lawyer for the defendant may hire another expert witness as well, just as you saw in the movies.
Each lawyer submits a list of potential expert witnesses to the court. Good lawyers understand the power of an expert witness to change the tide of the case, so they all strive to get top specialists in their fields.
Laws Differs By State Regarding Who Can Be An Expert Witness
An expert witness must have the qualifications. Every state differs in such qualifications, but the individual must be qualified/certified to give their opinion based on state requirements.
The Importance Of Expert Witnesses
Cases often hinge upon the testimony of an expert witness. When used correctly, they win cases. However, before their testimony can be brought into evidence for the courts, they will first need to have it accepted into evidence by the court.
Therefore, the justice system must ensure that the expert witness has the right qualifications. In addition, the witnesses’ character and methodology must pass the state requirements and qualifications.
Expert Witness: Their Duty To The Court
Expert witnesses make the complex language simpler for the jury or judge in the court. An expert witness has a duty to the court and the truth.
They must notify the court in advance if they believe they can't provide good testimony for a particular question. One of their duties is to be helpful to the court. Their honesty ensures the integrity of the court system and the provision of accurate conclusions regarding a case.
Expert witnesses made or broke cases, swinging the justice balance one way or the other. They are integral to the justice system, so their work and reputation must be beyond reproach.
Expert witness serves a unique role in personal injury cases because they can say - sometimes beyond any reasonable doubt - that some things happened a certain way. Moreover, their testimony can prove certain elements in a case.
The cost of an expert witness can be quite high, and they often make anywhere from $300 to $740 per hour, depending on their expertise. This is why you often see them used more for cases where the potential settlement or jury award is more significant. Different experts will come in for different issues related to the case as well.
However, even if they are expensive and hard to come by, experts can lead a court to find the truth in complex cases involving medical malpractice, defective products, gross negligence acts committed by state or private entities, etc.
So even if you think expert witnesses might be too much for a car accident case, remember that your recovery (health, finance, etc.) might depend on their education, training, competence, skills, and ability to tell your story.