What is an Expert Witness

What is an Expert Witness?

In personal injury claims, a successful result frequently depends on valuable information supplied by various experts in a number of fields. For an injured accident victim or plaintiff in a personal injury case, it can be helpful to know the support of experts is on hand to help support their case.

The roles of experts in a personal injury case can range from consulting experts (whose role it is to help lawyers determine whether to take the case to trial or settle), to medical experts who can testify about the cause and treatment of any injuries sustained.

Expert Witnesses

In such cases, it is also necessary for someone to testify during legal proceedings in order to provide the judge and jury with facts about the case, which is where the support of personal injury expert witnesses can help.

While some personal injury cases are reasonably straightforward, others may be more detailed and require detailed specialist focus from an expert witness in order to provide comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased information to help support the case.

The Role of an Expert Witness

The information supplied by an expert witness in a personal injury case can help the plaintiff clarify the legal and financial accountability (otherwise known as liability) of the defendant for any damages caused during an accident that could have been prevented.

The central purpose of an expert witness in a personal injury case is to reinforce the credibility of a personal injury case. Since expert witnesses are required to be fully qualified in their particular field, they cannot be considered lay witnesses, who are only able to supply information based on personal observations.

Types of Expert Witness

As personal injury cases can be very varied in nature, they require expert witnesses with specialist knowledge on the particular topics involved in the case. Expert witnesses may be required to testify in relation to a variety of matters such as financial issues, treatment plans, and more. Some common examples of expert witnesses involved in a personal injury case might include medical experts, such as psychologists, surgeons, or doctors. They may also include:

  • Manufacturing experts
  • Life care planners
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Economic experts
  • Social Workers
  • Impact Analyst
  • Car accident reconstructionists
  • Highway safety experts

Testimony from an expert witness in court must demonstrate reliable practices and principles, accurately applied to the case facts by the witness. These should also be backed by facts and data using the specific scientific, technical or specialist knowledge of the witness to assist the jury.

Benefits of Using an Expert Witness

The additional support of an expert witness typically involves additional costs – but in some cases (for example in cases of construction accidents, automobile accidents, or medical malpractice), their personal injury lawyer may recommend that it is beneficial to the outcome.

In some situations, the overwhelming amount of evidence and potential for bias in personal injury cases can make them especially difficult to navigate. Depending on the needs of the plaintiff, an expert witness can offer clarity and specialist insights to further support their case.

In addition to providing unbiased, objective testimony, an expert witness can identify and deliver key pieces of evidence and information in a cohesive, clear way, like when establishing negligence regarding duty of care.

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