/ Blog/ The Role of Expert Witnesses in Product Liability Trials
Witnesses in a trial are generally restricted to answering questions in terms of what they saw, heard, felt, smelled or tasted. Should a witness venture to express an answer based on her opinion, the opposing attorney will be on his feet and calling objection before she can finish her sentence.
Expert witnesses, however, are an exception to the rule. The precise reason an expert witness is called to the stand is to state his or her opinion.
An expert witness is a person who is a specialist in a subject, and is qualified by right of his or her training, special knowledge, skill and expertise to formulate a conclusion without having been present for an occurrence relating to a lawsuit. But an expert witness can be worth their weight in gold long before the trial ever enters the courtroom.
Product Liability cases, which can fall under any of three headings, defective design, defective manufacture, or failure to provide adequate instructions for product use, are some of the most challenging cases for trial lawyers. Having to come up with proof calls for extensive time and expense. An expert witness retained early in the preparation period can suggest the direction investigations and reconstructions can take, point out information sources, previously conducted research, and even help a lawyer define his theory of liability or come up with an alternative one.
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