In a personal injury lawsuit, expert witnesses may be vital to the success of your claim. These witnesses can provide support for your case, reject claims made by the defendant, and prove your case’s true value.
The Importance of Expert Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case
It’s essential to understand that expert witnesses play a much different role in personal injury cases than regular witnesses. A regular witness is a person that was present at the time of the accident and can testify about what they saw or heard.
Expert witnesses weren’t on the scene, but have a high level of experience, proficiency, and education that qualifies them as an “experts” in particular fields. Depending on their expertise, they can testify about how the collision occurred, the amount and extent of future medical treatment, the permanency of the injuries and the amount of any future wage loss.
Experts are not always hired to appear at trial. Your attorney might consult with an expert to gain a better understanding of certain aspects of your case and help form the best strategy. Experts can run focus groups to help frame the issues and develop a theme for your case. In these instances, the other side might never know that you have used an expert to improve your case.
You might also have an expert provide official testimony related to the circumstances of the accident, a piece of defective equipment, the extent of your injuries, or your resulting emotional trauma. These witnesses may be rebutted by the defense with their own set of experts, but they can often help your case.
Types of Expert Witnesses We Might Use
Whether you use a consulting or testifying expert witness in your case, there are many different types of authorities that you can bring in to strengthen your arguments and even increase the amount of your award. These include:
- Medical Experts. Medical experts can testify about your specific injuries, your prognosis, as well as your options for recovery. In a medical malpractice case, these experts are generally required to testify about how a healthcare worker deviated from their normal standard of care. Some expert medical testimony will involve a review of records and a separate examination.
- Accident Reconstruction Experts. These experts help attorneys and law enforcement agencies figure out what happened in an auto, workplace, or other accident involving property or machinery. They use their expertise and evidence collected to reconstruct how the accident occurred and can help pinpoint causation.
- Mental Health Experts. Mental health experts can consult and testify about how an accident has impacted your mental and emotional state. This testimony can be used to support claims for pain and suffering and other damages.
- Economics Experts. If you are claiming that your injury has affected your ability to earn a living, an economics expert can help place a dollar value on these damages, which could be significant.
- Engineering Experts. When an injury is due to shoddy building construction or a defective piece of equipment, an engineering or design expert can testify about how certain defects were the cause of your accident and injuries.
- Specialized Experts. Anyone who is an expert in a certain area may be able to contribute to the outcome of your case. Other expert witnesses that we’ve used in personal injury cases include phone records specialists, forensic toxicologists, and vocational specialists.
Your Role in Working with an Expert Witness
While it will be your attorney’s job to recommend and locate an expert witness, you may be involved as well. As your lawyer works on building your case, you might need to provide additional information to assist these witnesses in doing their job.
We may refer you to an expert medical examiner if it will help establish the facts of your injuries or allow you to receive the care you need in the future. Following up with diagnostic tests, medical records requests, and answering other questions posed by your attorney and the witnesses can help increase the chances of a positive case outcome.
Contact Our Mobile Personal Injury Attorneys
The subject of expert witnesses within a personal injury case can be complex. You and your legal team must first identify any issues within your case that would benefit from additional explanation. Your attorney can then locate experts that are willing to work on your case.
There are many expert witnesses in the Mobile area, though we may need to reach out to professionals regionally or nationally to secure what you need. When you are trying to prove liability or damages, no stone should be left unturned.
At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our personal injury attorneys aggressively fight for maximum compensation on behalf of every client. Contact our Mobile office now at (251) 260-3815 with any questions or to schedule a free consultation.