What is an “Expert Witness” and How Are They Used in Injury Cases?
Most folks who sit on a jury in a personal injury case are not going to have a good understanding of the complex causes and effects of a spinal injury, the engineering and other technical issues involved in determining whether a product was defective, or what the standard of care was for a surgeon preforming a given procedure.
When the injuries and issues in a personal injury case are more technical, complicated, and beyond the experience of most people, witnesses who have the expertise to analyze, offer opinions, and give testimony explaining such issues to a jury in ways that are easy to understand as well as powerful can be key to winning the case.
Fact Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses are retained and paid by one of the parties to a personal injury lawsuit to prepare reports and offer testimony at trial because their specialized education, experience, and background, give them unique insight into the given subject or issue. They provide analysis, explanations, and conclusions for juries to consider when making their determinations as to liability or damages.
Expert witnesses didn’t actually see how an accident happened or otherwise have first-hand knowledge of the occurrence or injury. The people who do – the plaintiff, the defendant, other people who can testify directly about what happened are fact witnesses, and they testify about what they were doing, what they saw, and what they experienced.
Kinds of Experts Used in Injury Cases
Experts in the following fields are often called to provide opinions and testimony in personal injury cases:
- Accident Reconstruction Experts. While someone who saw a car accident may be able to testify about what they witnessed (such as whether a car stopped at a stop sign or not), determining exactly why or how a collision or accident happened can require the insight of an expert who specializes in reconstructing such incidents. Much as aviation experts analyze plane crashes to determine what caused a plane to go down, accident reconstruction experts look at the evidence and facts of an auto accident and use their expertise to reach educated conclusions as to what occurred and who was to blame.
- Medical Experts. Doctors who treated a plaintiff after an accident or injury will offer testimony about the injuries they saw and addressed. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to retain an expert medical witness to provide testimony and prepare independent analysis about the nature and extent of your injuries. Similarly, medical experts are often called to testify in malpractice cases about the standard of care a defendant physician needed to follow and whether or not they failed to adhere to it.
- Economics Experts. In many personal injury and wrongful death cases, damage awards involve calculating how much a plaintiff or a lost loved one would have made in future earnings but for the injury or death. Such determinations can involve looking ahead at future earnings and medical costs, taking into consideration life expectancy, health, and a range of other factors. Economic experts offer testimony that can assist jurors in understanding how to value such damages and help them determine how much they should award if a plaintiff is successful in proving that the defendant was responsible for their injuries.
At Greening Law, P.C. in Dallas, we work with a large network of experts in a number of fields, not only here in Texas but across the country. We may retain these professionals to testify when we believe that it is necessary to help our clients receive the compensation that they deserve.
Please give us a call at (972) 934-8900 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free initial consultation.