The Importance of Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can be relevant in many types of lawsuits, but they can be especially important in motor vehicle accident cases. The testimony of an expert witness can demonstrate that the victim’s positions contending the accident and resulting injuries are accurate. In addition, they can effectively provide answers to difficult questions the jury may have and give extra credibility to your side due to their qualifications, knowledge, and experience. If you believe you may have a case that might involve experts and their analyses, call an experienced Riverside, California, motor vehicle accident attorney firm, Heiting & Irwin at (951) 682-6400 to schedule a consultation.
What Makes Someone an Expert Witness?
A person must “qualify” as an expert witness. He or she must have training, education, or experience in a specific field and whose knowledge goes far beyond that of the average person can act as an expert witness. In a motor vehicle accident case, examples include a physician explaining the victim’s injuries, a financial professional to assess the economic losses due to a resulting disability, or a mechanic to explain why a component in a vehicle failed. Expert witnesses can testify in state and federal courts alike, helping the judge and jurors come to informed decisions about the facts of the case.
Why Are Expert Witnesses Important in Personal Injury Cases?
The right expert witness will lead jurors to a decision that favors one side or the other, whereas the opposite could result from choosing someone who is unqualified or not as qualified. A skilled motor vehicle accident attorney from Heiting & Irwin can identify the kind of expert witnesses that would be beneficial to a particular case and find those who would best fill that role.
There may be many reasons to bring in an expert witness when a motor vehicle accident case goes to trial. The following are seven key reasons to have expert witnesses for a motor vehicle accident case.
Testimony That Meets Scientific or Technical Scrutiny
Any expert witnesses who testify in a motor vehicle case will be guaranteed to provide a reliable analysis of the situation. To be allowed to testify, expert witnesses must meet stringent requirements, as specified, for example, in 28 USC App Fed R Evid Rule 702: Testimony by Experts, according to the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives. This means that the theory or technique the expert witness puts forth should satisfy certain criteria. They should:
- Be tested
- Have been subjected to peer review
- Have a known (or potential) error rate
- Be widely accepted in the scientific community
- Meet controls and standards
Explanation of Complex Issues for Jurors
We want expert witnesses who can present information in a way that jurors who may have a limited understanding of the subject matter can understand. They simplify complex issues without omitting crucial facts and are positioned to make sure everyone understands what the evidence means.
Credibility of Evidence
Explaining information in scientific terms can also provide context for jurors. Unlike other testimony, expert witnesses do not base their testimony on their witnessing the accident itself. They give opinions and reasons for their opinions using factual explanations. This supports personal accounts and arguments and gives them credibility.
Correct Documentation to Support the Victim’s Case
Before an expert witness testifies, he or she can assist the victim’s attorney in various ways, including:
- Determining what documents might be gathered/prepared to support the case
- Assessing documents and testimony to decide if they are relevant to the case
- Collaborating to create questions and presentations for testimony and depositions
Rebuttal of Opposing Counsel Testimony
If the opposing counsel has experts providing testimony, it will probably be helpful, or even necessary, for your side to have an expert witness in the same field. Expert witnesses on the side of the victim can provide support and point out weak areas in the opposing arguments.
Both parties will be aware of any and all expert witnesses before the trial. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure § 2034.210, each party can demand a simultaneous exchange of expert witness information after the initial trial date is set.
Greater Flexibility To Demonstrate the Facts
A witness is generally restricted to discussing what was experienced or seen related to the case. Expert witnesses can go beyond these limits. They can even create reconstructive models or video presentations and computer reconstruction to demonstrate what must have occurred. This flexibility can help jurors understand the case on a deeper level.
Expert witnesses can play a big role in a motor vehicle accident case from its start to its conclusion. They can even participate in negotiations and evaluations to help ensure that the victim will receive a fair amount.
Contact an Attorney for Help Finding an Expert Witness for Your Motor Vehicle Case
Finding expert witnesses whose knowledge is relevant to the case and who will present a compelling argument can be extremely important. Law firms that specialize in motor vehicle accident cases generally maintain contact with several top expert witnesses. To find out how an expert witness could help your case, or whether you will need one (or more) consider contacting an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney at Heiting & Irwin by calling (951) 682-6400 to schedule a consultation today.