In most personal injury cases, three types of witnesses might testify about the case:
The use of expert witnesses in personal injury cases varies. They may be used to argue against allegations of contributory fault or explain negligence. They may also be used to explain economic damages and non-economic damages. Expert witnesses could be used to prove causation for an injury or accident.
There are numerous types of expert witnesses that your injury lawyer may hire to assist with your case. The field of expertise depends on the type of case and the matters you are trying to prove.
An expert witness may be a consulting expert. Attorneys hire consulting experts to assist during the investigation, discovery, and trial preparation of a case. For example, experts may assist by reviewing documents, gathering evidence, providing opinions, and developing a trial strategy.
In contrast, testifying expert witnesses appear at trial and offer testimony related to a specific issue or matter relevant to the case. Understanding the evidence in a case is crucial for the trier of fact. The trier of fact (a judge or jury) decides what evidence to accept or reject.
An expert witness testifies about matters based on their area of expertise. They have specialized knowledge of matters that directly relate to disputed issues in the case. Therefore, they explain complicated concepts in ways the fact finder can understand and offer testimony that supports a plaintiff’s allegations of fault, negligence, or damages.
Expert witnesses in a personal injury case could include:
It can be difficult to determine how a car accident occurred. An accident reconstruction expert uses the evidence from a crash to “recreate” how the collision occurred. The method is based on physics, engineering, mathematics, vehicle dynamics, and other fields of science.
An accident reconstructionist can be very helpful in court. The expert explains exactly how a crash occurred based on scientific principles. Memories can fade, and stories can change, but it can be difficult to argue against science.
Medical experts are used in all types of personal injury claims. Physicians testify about the type and extent of a victim’s injuries. They also testify about how the injuries impact the person’s daily life.
In medical malpractice cases, medical experts must explain the standard of care for a specific procedure or treatment. They also testify about how the doctor breached the duty of care and how the breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Industry experts are used in product liability cases to testify about whether certain products are safe. In addition, they may offer testimony about how a specific product is defective and how the defect could result in an injury or wrongful death.
Accident victims often sustain emotional and mental trauma because of their accidents and injuries. Pain and suffering can be as debilitating as physical injuries. Mental health experts testify about the emotional impact an accident or injury has had on a person’s life.
Part of a personal injury claim may include the cost of ongoing medical treatment, personal care, lost wages, and reductions in earning potential. Economists and financial experts calculate these future damages based on a variety of factors.
They provide the basis for a jury to award a higher amount of compensation. A financial expert explains how much money a person would have earned had they not been injured. They also use inflation and other information to project the cost of future care.
There are strict rules in federal and state courts concerning who may be an expert witness and how evidence from experts must be treated in court cases.
For example, the Federal Rules of Evidence state that someone must have sufficient training, skills, experience, knowledge, or education in a specialized field to provide expert testimony in a case. Most state rules of evidence have similar requirements. Additionally, the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure govern discovery procedures related to expert witnesses.
If you were injured in an accident or through negligence and wrongdoing, contact our law firm or call (617)-391-9001 today to schedule a free consultation with a Boston personal injury attorney. Let’s discuss your case and how our legal team can help you recover the compensation you deserve for injuries and damages.