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The Importance of Expert Witnesses

Expert WitnessesExpert witnesses can provide critical evidence in a case. Most litigations benefit with input from an expert witness, even if the case settles before trial.

Here are the things that you should know about expert witnesses and the important role they play.

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness provides opinion testimony, rather than fact-based testimony. Suppose that a bystander sees a car hit you while you cross the street. That bystander can testify for you as a fact witness.

But suppose that you want someone to testify about the way a back injury from your accident caused nerve pain in your legs. For that, you might need an expert witness to give a medical opinion.

Who Qualifies as an Expert?

To testify as an expert witness, the judge must examine the qualifications and proposed testimony of a witness. The expert can qualify based on education, training, or experience.

Thus, you could use multiple experts in your case. A doctor could discuss the effects of a brain injury. An auto mechanic could describe the likely reason your airbag failed to deploy. An accountant could explain your future expenses from your brain injury.

What Testimony Can an Expert Give?

Under a U.S. Supreme Court case known as Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the expert opinion must withstand scientific or technical scrutiny. This will include factors such as:

  • Testing of the analytical model
  • Peer-review of the analysis method
  • The method’s error rate
  • Controls and standards for the method
  • Acceptance of the method within the relevant community

If these factors suggest that the expert’s analysis stands on reliable grounds, the expert can testify. Specifically, the expert can provide an opinion that applies the analytical method to the facts of your case.

Purpose of Expert Testimony

Expert testimony serves two purposes. First, the expert prepares an expert report. Your lawyer provides this report to the other party. This report can identify compelling evidence that will push the other party into settling the case.

Second, the expert can testify at trial. This testimony will often provide a jury with the connection it needs between your injury and the defendant’s conduct.

To learn about the ways that we can use an expert witness to improve your case, contact Shrader Law, PLLC for a free consultation.

Posted in Criminal Defense