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Qualifications for Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Claims

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jun 04, 2019 in Personal Injury

expert witnesses in personal injury claimsIn a personal injury case, an expert witness provides critical testimony that can help strengthen your claim. Attorneys often turn to expert witnesses because of their particular skill set or education to help explain more complex and nuanced elements of a case. His or her input and interpretation of a difficult issue can be invaluable. Learn more about how expert witnesses are instrumental in a case. 

For assistance with your claim, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers and schedule a free, no obligation consultation now. We can review your case and determine the legal options available to you.

What Makes Someone an Expert Witness?

To be an expert witness, one must be qualified in a field relevant to your claim. A witness may be considered an expert rather than a lay witness if the individual possesses attributes such as:

  • Reputation
  • Credentials
  • Professional and educational experiences
  • Peer-reviewed journal publications
  • Prior experience as an expert witness

An expert witness is a specialist in his or her field. Common types of subject matter expert witnesses testify on include:

  • Medical
  • Mental health
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Finance
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Automotive
  • Forensics

The Differences Between Expert Witness and Lay Witness Testimony

For an expert witness’s testimony to be used in court, the following must be shown:

  • The scientific, technical or specialized knowledge of the witness helps the jury understand case evidence or determine facts at issue
  • The testimony has a strong basis in data or facts
  • The testimony comes from reliable principles and practices
  • The principles and practices are accurately applied by the witness to the case facts

Under the law, a difference is recognized between expert testimony and that of lay people. A lay person is only able to testify regarding some facts in a case or offer testimony based on his or her own limited opinions. A lay person cannot give testimony regarding specialized, technical, or scientific elements of a case – a lay person’s testimony is limited to his or her own opinions.

Benefits of Expert Witness Testimony

An expert witness has the potential to help strengthen a personal injury case in many ways, depending on the needs of your claim.

  • Establish negligence: In personal injury cases, a duty of care and breach of duty of care must be established. An expert witness in the same field as the defendant can be used to establish the defendant’s duty in the situation and whether or not that duty was upheld.
  • Clarity: With an overwhelming amount of evidence used in personal injury cases, not all evidence is clear-cut. Experts are often used to clearly explain certain pieces of evidence and deliver key information regarding the evidence to help a jury make a decision.
  • Impartial testimony: An expert witness is someone not close to you, which can help remove bias from the testimony heard from your side. Your own testimony as well as that of those who are close to you can be viewed as partial to your favor – an expert witness’s testimony is often considered more unbiased and objective, which can be more easily accepted by a judge or jury.

When Do You Need an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is an extra expense involved in taking your case to trial, but in some cases it is highly recommended to benefit the outcome of the trial. Your personal injury lawyer is able to recommend when an expert witness may be valuable to your case and is able to locate and retain the right person.

Expert witnesses are often very helpful in personal injury cases that involve:

  • Automobile accidents that require accident reconstruction
  • Construction accidents which involve the proper use of equipment, methods, safety programs and training
  • Medical malpractice to establish standards of care, informed consent, proximate cause and information specific to a certain medical condition or disease

Contact Our Attorneys for Assistance

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, an expert witness can provide valuable evidence for your claim. Our attorneys at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings will work hard to build a strong case in order to try and secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today to learn more about legal options. We charge no upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.

Call (877) 920-9009 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form now.