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5 Ways Injury Attorneys Use Expert Witnesses

February 8, 2017

You might think that a lot of court cases are just disputes between a defendant and a plaintiff. However, in addition to opinions, there are facts about the cases that need to be fairly represented in order for a settlement to be reached. This is why both sides of a personal injury case will use expert witnesses.

An expert witness is a type of professional consultant that serves as a witness for court cases on a regular basis. The expert witness will have a great deal of professional experience, or will have specific knowledge about a subject and can support their case by supplying and proving facts that the general public otherwise wouldn’t know. They need to be hired by an attorney in order to make their statements. How are these witnesses used? The personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham know how to use them and recognize the good they can do in your case.

Experts Consult, Testify, or Both

There are two different types of expert witnesses: a consulting expert, and a testifying expert. These experts provide similar information, but how the information is used sets them apart.

A consulting expert is someone who doesn’t testify in court. Consulting experts still provide information for the case. While attorneys are seasoned at their specialized area of law, they do require that more complex issues be explained by an expert for reinforcement. Consulting attorneys, therefore, help explain and clarify facts for an attorney so that they understand how to support their case.

A testifying expert is someone who delivers a testimony in the courtroom for the judge and jury. Testifying experts know how to deliver expert information in a way that’s understandable to those who are not experts.

Unlike a consulting expert, a testifying expert’s information is subject to the rules of witness discovery. This means that the opposing attorney will have access to the information to prepare a rebuttal.

Expert witnesses can fill both roles, often by consulting privately with an attorney and then presenting the relevant information in the courtroom during trial.

They Analyze the Scene

Expert witnesses can assist attorneys during the investigation period of a personal injury case. A lawyer’s job is to investigate the circumstances of a claim and identify the negligent parties. An expert witness in a field related to the case can identify facts and details an attorney may not notice otherwise.

In an automobile accident case, for instance, expert witnesses could be called to reconstruct the accident or injuries, look at accident reports, and analyze physical evidence from the crack to determine fault.

In wrongful death cases, a medical examiner would be asked to determine the victim’s medical condition and cause of death. This determination could expose the responsible party.

A plaintiff will not need to provide an expert witness. The attorney handling the case will locate an expert witness as needed.

Expert Witnesses Provide the Facts

Expert witnesses get their name for a reason: they’re considered proficient in a field relevant to the case due to training, knowledge, skill, education, or experience.

In personal injury cases, facts that prove one side or the other become extremely important, as opinions and emotions are high. An expert witness serves as an objective, educated third-party.

In order to be certified as an expert witness, individuals need to provide testimony that the product of known, accepted, and reliable methods and principles applied to the case.

Expert Witnesses Explain Specialized Evidence

Misinterpreted evidence can make or break a case. Part of an expert witness’ job is to explain complex evidence/information in a way a jury or courtroom can digest. Without a clear understanding of factual evidence, justice for a wrongdoing could be missed.

They Provide an Educated Opinion

Even though the role of an expert witness is to provide facts, a testimony based on opinions is less restricted than it is on non-expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are considered more reputable than the testimony of the average person. They don’t have as much of a personal stake in the case as a plaintiff, defendant, or attorney.

Expert witnesses make decisions based on scientific methods. They would not be present at the time of injury, thus requiring that they make an educated guess about the turn of events. As a result, they’re allowed to voice an opinion as a professional if it would help the jury understand the case.

Call an Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re looking for help with your personal injury case, our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys have over 30 years of experience in a variety of personal injury areas. To talk about your options in a free, no-obligation consultation, call 317.920.6400 or fill out our contact form.

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