— Why Witnesses Are Important to a Personal Injury Case —
Witnesses are often called to the stand in personal injury cases. They are utilized in order to provide clarity when aspects of the accident are contested. As an example, an eyewitness to the car wreck can recount their view of the accident’s occurrence from an objective position.
Expert witnesses play a different role than an eyewitness. Experts have extensive education or experience in matters related to the accident, such as technical knowledge in automotive mechanics. For a case related to a car accident, such expertise makes that witness an invaluable resource regarding details that must be proven to have occurred or played a significant role in the accident.
Expert witnesses have rarely been on the scene when an accident occurred. But they are able to provide testimony in regards to critical aspects of the claim. The expert witness’ role is key to determinations related to the case because he or she has expert knowledge that other parties in the case do not. This knowledge is needed to prove claims made based upon the findings of accident investigations.
Experts are in no way related to the parties in the case, so their testimony is objective and impartial, based only upon factual information and theories related to their area of knowledge.
— Types of Personal Injury Case Expert Witnesses —
Expert witnesses vary in type for personal injury cases. Two such types of expert witnesses are the consulting witness and testifying expert.
Consulting witnesses use their knowledge and experience to help parties in the case understand key issues and facts on which the case is based. Consulting witnesses do not appear in court or testify on the stand. But their role is very important because they are positioned to enable attorneys to clearly understand and relay complex and technical issues as part of the personal injury case.
Testifying experts do appear in court and testify on the stand in order to effectively communicate pertinent issues to the jury, judge and others in the case. This is the primary difference between consulting and testifying experts.
An expert may be categorized as both consulting and testifying. How the expert is designated plays a role in discovery and applicable rules. A consulting expert’s information used in litigation does not have to be discovered by the opposing parties, whereas a testifying expert’s information to be shared is able to be discovered.
— Specializations of Personal Injury Case Expert Witnesses —
In personal injury cases, there are common types of expert witnesses used to prove a case. Specialists from the healthcare and medical fields are commonly engaged as expert witnesses to testify about issues such as the injuries suffered by the victims, options for their recovery and information about required treatments.
Medical malpractice-related cases almost always necessitate medical experts. Such experts must provide testimony about healthcare standards and how the defendant did not meet this standard of care in regard to the claim. The medical expert’s testimony plays a significant role in a medical malpractice case.
Engineering experts are commonly utilized to testify in personal injury cases based upon premises liability. Engineering experts provide testimony in regard to building construction, structural issues or other topics such as improper roadway maintenance.
Common to auto accident claims are manufacturing experts. These experts provide testimony in regard to defective automotive parts or products. They can illustrate how the defective parts led to accident related injuries.
When an accident financially impacts an accident victim, economic experts can provide testimony about how the wreck has negatively affected the victim’s ability to earn an income. They may also provide expertise in financial valuation of losses related to the claim.
These fall under Rule 702 – Testimony by Expert Witness (source: Cornell LII)
— Significance of Personal Injury Case Expert Witnesses —
Expert witnesses are not required for all personal injury cases. But cases of motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, claims of product liability and other such cases often benefit from the information an expert witness can objectively provide.
Expert analysis of personal injury case information can clarify details of the case with impartiality. Using their special knowledge, training and education, these witnesses often shed light on issues affecting judge or jury decisions.
Victims are permitted to use experts for case investigation and review as needed. These witnesses are invaluable in proving claim credibility and explanation of difficult subject matter in ways that laymen can understand the issues. Victim case outcome is often related to expert witness testimony and how those experts relayed information to the judge and jury.
Personal injury attorneys help victims of personal injury claims decide when and how to use expert witnesses, before they are retained. These attorneys understand the important role the witnesses play and when they may be needed to gain a favorable outcome toward settlement or in court.
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