Expert witness testimony is essential in proving most criminal and civil cases before a trial judge or jury. Your attorney has a moral and legal duty to present the best possible case on behalf of their client. Experts will provide for a defendant’s affirmative defense allegations on one side. On the other hand, the plaintiff’s experts help prove their claim’s reasonable value.
Sometimes expert witnesses can prove invaluable when honing an injury case for trial. For example, an expert can assist in preparation for the cross-examination of defense experts. This type of expert helps strengthen claims by assisting non-experts in understanding the evidence, explaining everything, and proving the plaintiff’s side of the personal injury lawsuit.
Personal Injuries, Lay Witnesses, And Experts
Clients and jurors must understand expert witnesses can prove elements of personal injury cases that a non-expert cannot. A regular or lay witness could have seen the events leading to the accident or what happened after the mishap. But expert witnesses not present during the accident don’t testify about what they perceived, saw, or heard.
Expert witnesses will review testimony from lay witnesses present at the accident scene. Experts will use their high levels of skill and proficiency obtained through years of education and hands-on experience to formulate opinions vital to winning your case. The court uses these qualifications to qualify someone as an “expert.” The parties may retain expert witnesses to prove one or several elements of their personal injury case.
A biomechanics expert may testify about how the collision contorted and twisted your body during a collision. A spine surgeon may provide expert testimony about the nature and extent of future required medical treatment. A life care planner may calculate other experts’ numbers to figure damages covering your past, present, and future personal injury medical expenses and lost wages.
Some experts are retained as advisors called paid consultants to help shed light on important aspects of your injury case like jury consulting or running a moot court. As noted, some experts investigate cases and set up focus groups that help isolate and examine potential pitfalls during the case theme development process.
Experts may also provide testimony about defective machines or farm equipment causing the accident, including resulting in pain, emotional trauma, and suffering. Defense experts will help defendants rebut the plaintiff’s evidence, forcing the trial jury to choose the more reliable, believable, and credible expert when returning a favorable verdict.
Crucial Research For Selecting An Expert Witness
In particular, the personal injury lawyer is responsible for ensuring that their expert has a flawless record within their field of expertise with no issues affecting their licensing or punishment by the licensing board. Hiring the wrong expert only further disparages many trial lawyers’ already shady reputations. Hiring the right expert helps the injured plaintiff and their case in chief shine.
There are questions the legal advocate should ask any expert witness they plan to use in a civil lawsuit, including:
- How long have they held a license in their specialty or field?
- Have they published any peer-review articles or papers?
- How many times have they testified in a personal injury lawsuit?
- Was their testimony limited or thrown out of court?
You need to know if the expert will strengthen a lawsuit with helpful evidence and testimony. It is up to the lawyer to choose the right specialist to testify about your injury. It would be best if you had a winning testimony. Injury cases and lawyers have a tarnished image. So, in general, it is essential to obtain experts above reproach. Doing so is one of the most critical aspects of managing a case.
What Type Of Expert Witness Should I Hire For My Personal Injury Case?
Many experts are used for personal injury cases, including medical experts, mental health experts, accident reconstruction experts, economic experts, engineering experts, and other ad-hoc specialists.
- Medical Experts: Medical experts will give medical opinion testimony after reviewing a patient’s medical records and conducting an independent examination of the injured patient’s condition. These experts will testify to a jury or judge about your distinct injuries, diagnosis, prognosis, injury permanency, and severity. In a medical malpractice suit, these specialists must be hired to testify about a healthcare worker’s deviations from an applicable standard of care policy or rule, etc.
- Mental Health Experts: A mental health expert is hired as a paid consultant by your attorney to form psychological opinions about an accident’s impact on your mental and emotional health. Their supporting official court testimony can be used to value claims for pain, suffering, and financial damages.
- Accident Reconstruction Experts: Accident recon experts help lawyers and government agencies determine how an accident happened from a car crash, workplace, or another mishap. These educated witnesses are professionals gathering evidence to reconstruct how equipment or a machine moved and responded during an accident, helping them nail down causation.
- Economics Experts: Economic experts render opinions to help determine the plaintiff’s lost or decreased earning capacity resulting from the plaintiff’s loss of livelihood from the accident.
- Engineering Experts: If your injury did arise from someone’s negligent construction or defective building equipment, experts in design or civil engineering would be hired for their testimony regarding how these problems caused your severe injuries.
- Specialty Experts: An expert witness is anyone with special knowledge or professional skill who can form an opinion and testify about an essential element of your court case using a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. Other expert witnesses hired by our firm for a personal injury case include life care planner experts, forensic pathologist experts, forensic accounting experts, phone record recovery specialists, forensic toxicologists, feeding therapy experts, vocational rehab specialists, etc.
What Is My Role Working With An Expert Witness?
During the expert witness selection process, your injury attorney helps locate, vet, and recommend expert witnesses, but you must authorize your lawyer to hire the expert for rendering their opinions. The expert witnesses you hired might need you to gather evidence to help build your California injury claim. Your attorney could decide you need an independent medical examination from a retained expert witness besides your original doctor initially treating your personal injuries.
This medical examiner helps establish how reasonable the care was for your past injuries and helps you receive future medical treatment or therapy by ordering diagnostic testing and medical records and replying to your attorney. This “second opinion” expert can handily increase your damages award.
Contact Our Local Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring the best Los Angeles personal injury lawyer for help selecting your expert witness can be painstakingly arduous. After your lawyer hears your story, they should know about weaknesses or legal issues requiring complex case assistance from a supporting expert witness. Our role in the expert witness selection process is securing victims with reasonable, affordable, honest witnesses. The client authorizes the legal team to seek out opinions from paid experts. These authorized experts give jury testimony proving the injured client’s burden of causation, liability, and damages under the evidence standard’s preponderance.
Sadly, many types of experts exist, some of them charlatans, meaning you can’t hire an expert in Los Angeles. Our superior legal team works from mobile locations across national and regional metropolitans near you. At Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, our competent lawyers have a proven track record for recovering monumental compensation awards for satisfied clients. Our mobile Los Angeles personal injury law offices will address all your questions 24/7 at (213) 596-9642. When you schedule your free case review, we will provide the solutions for hiring the right experts for your injury claim.
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Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.
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