The Role of Expert Witnesses at Your Personal Injury Trial

personal injury trial

A personal injury claim may be the first time you have needed to approach the legal system. Even after meeting and talking about things with your attorney, you may feel better and you may feel confident that you are taking the right course of action in order to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, but you may still be proceeding with trepidation. This is only natural. The legal system can be overwhelming and its complexities can send your head spinning. That is, of course, why it is a good idea to retain a lawyer to pursue your personal injury claim. Knowing more about the claims process and what may lie on the road ahead can bring a great deal of peace of mind. Knowing those who may play a role in your claim can also be helpful and putting yourself at ease. Should your claim go to trial, there will be a team dedicated to presenting your case. On that team, there are likely to be expert witnesses. Here, we will discuss the role an expert witness can play in a personal injury trial.

The Role of Expert Witnesses at Your Personal Injury Trial

Before discussing the role of the expert witness in a personal injury trial, it can be important to understand what exactly an expert witness is. An expert witness is someone who will testify at trial because he or she possesses a unique and specific knowledge base and skill set rooted in education, experience, or both. Prior to giving testimony, an expert witness will present his or her qualifications for testifying on a particular matter to the court. An expert witness differs from a lay witness who qualifies to testify at trial because he or she possesses first-hand knowledge regarding the facts of the case. For instance, a lay witness could be someone who was at the accident scene and witnessed the accident first-hand.

Sometimes, an attorney will retain an expert witness to help with trial prep. There can be complicated matters involved in the case that extends beyond the legal expertise of an attorney and an expert witness can help an attorney to more deeply understand issues relevant to the case. Commonly, expert witnesses will testify at a personal injury trial. An expert witness presents opinions on the case that are rooted in fact. Expert witnesses draw on their education and experience in a particular field in order to shed light on contested or complex issues involved in the case.

Because their opinions are founded on fact, education, and experience, judges, and juries tend to give substantial deference to the testimony of an expert witness. Expert witnesses are often called to the stand to give testimony intended to clarify muddled points of the case. For instance, an accident reconstruction expert may be employed to detail how, based on the evidence, an accident likely was caused and who, in turn, was likely responsible for causing the accident. An expert witness may also be called to elaborate on the details of the case. For instance, a vocational expert may be able to extrapolate that, based on the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, there are specified reasons why he or she could not continue with the job he or she had prior to the accident.

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Posted in: Personal Injury