Personal injury cases can be devastating both financially and medically. If you’re an accident victim, you may need to cope with surgery, physical therapy, and other pricey treatments. It’s tough to afford all those medical bills, especially if you’ve lost your job because you can’t work anymore.
It’s difficult to say how much a court will award you, but calling an expert witness to the stand may improve your chances of a higher damages award.
Learn more about the role of expert witnesses in personal injury cases below.
What Is an Expert Witness?
Expert witnesses are professionals who have extensive knowledge in their area of expertise. The main role of expert witnesses in personal injury cases is to testify as to how the accident happened. Their testimony makes it easier for a jury and judge to understand your case.
Expert witnesses differ from layperson witnesses. Think of layperson witnesses as people who observed your accident and can testify as to what they saw. These witnesses have no unique knowledge like expert witnesses do. Still, both are important to the outcome of your case.
Types of Expert Witnesses
You’ll find many kinds of experts, but which one is right for your case? That depends on the details of your accident and your injuries.
In some accident cases, it’s fairly simple to know who was at fault. But if the facts surrounding your accident are unclear, the court can call an accident reconstructionist to clarify matters.
In a car accident case, for example, a reconstructionist can recreate the event for a jury with factors such as speed, weather conditions, road hazards, and tire skid marks.
If you’re in a wheelchair or have significant scarring due to your injury, the jury can clearly see how bad your injuries are. Not all injuries are visible, though. You may suffer from internal damage, a traumatic brain injury, or other injuries that the court can’t see.
Medical professionals can explain the severity of your injuries to the court. They can describe how long your injuries will take to heal and the impact of those injuries on your quality of life.
Mental Health Professionals
Accidents can leave you with much more than just physical injuries. Following an accident, you may also suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other issues that affect your mental health.
Counselors and psychiatrists can explain these mental health issues to the court. For instance, they can demonstrate how your fear of driving a car isolates you and prevents you from going to work. This testimony helps the court decide how much to award you for pain and suffering.
A vocational expert can demonstrate why your injuries prevent you from working. They can also explain how long it should take you to recover. The court uses their testimony when deciding how much to give you for lost wages.
If your injuries will prevent you from working in the same field, a vocational expert can show this too. The court may award you more compensation for training so you can work in a different field.
Engineering expert testimony helps a jury understand construction code violations. They can explain how you were hurt because workers didn’t construct a building according to the law.
For example, maybe you were hurt in a fire because the building lacked proper emergency exits. You may have fallen down the stairs because the builder didn’t install handrails.
Construction workers must follow local building codes, but that doesn’t mean all of them actually do. Some may fail to apply for a permit and perform unauthorized work. Others may use shoddy materials to save money.
Regardless of the violations, an engineering expert can uncover them and present these facts in your case.
Accountants, actuaries, and other financial professionals can demonstrate your monetary losses to the court. They’re helpful in showing that your case involved property damage, lost wages, or expensive medical bills.
Who Can Serve as an Expert Witness?
Not just anyone can serve as an expert witness. Federal Rule 702 says that qualifying as an expert witness requires skill, knowledge, training, or experience in a specific field.
Expert witnesses must use their special knowledge to help a court better understand your case. They must also base their testimony on sufficient data and facts.
Expert witnesses must know how to communicate their findings clearly. They may do so with verbal testimony or presentations that show how your accident happened.
It’s important to note that expert witnesses do not work for you. Their goal is simply to present the facts of the case in an objective and unbiased way.
If those facts can show that you suffered injuries because of someone’s negligence, the court may decide to award you damages for your accident.
Does Your Personal Injury Case Need an Expert Witness?
Your personal injury case may or may not benefit from an expert witness. If your case is relatively simple and your personal injury lawyer can easily prove fault, you may not need an expert witness.
But if it’s unclear who is to blame or you lack physical evidence of your injuries, an expert witness can be invaluable.
The court will award compensation depending on how credible it finds your case. If a jury can’t see your injuries, how can the jurors know that you’re really hurt? An expert witness helps resolve this problem by making your case more believable.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Who Will Work With Expert Witnesses on Your Behalf
How can you find expert witnesses for your case? The average person may struggle to track down an expert witness who will testify for them in court.
That’s why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who has worked with expert witnesses before. Our team will find expert witnesses for your accident and use their testimony to help build a solid case.
Would you like to learn more about the role of expert witnesses in personal injury cases? Call Khalil Law Group at (714) 617-7870 for a free consultation today.