In the legal field, an expert witness is defined as a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present their expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case.
If you’ve been injured and have filed a lawsuit for a personal injury matter, your counsel will likely retain experts to substantiate your claims about the incident that caused your injuries or your current and future medical treatments and costs. Expert witnesses are instrumental to personal injury cases because their unbiased opinions and findings bring credibility to plaintiff’s claims and strengthen cases overall.
Types of Experts
Whether you’ve suffered from a car accident, medical malpractice, or a defective product, your case would benefit from expert testimony. Some common types of expert witnesses used in personal injury cases are listed below.
- Medical Experts: Medical experts determine the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries, how the injuries have physically and mentally affected the plaintiff, and whether or not the injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence or intent. Medical experts will usually examine the plaintiff or review their medical file before submitting an expert witness report on a plaintiff’s injuries and their findings. Medical expert witnesses may also testify if the case makes it to trial.
- Accident Reconstructionists: An accident reconstructionist recreates versions of what occurred when the accident took place. They are usually engineers who have education in and experience with computer modeling, statistics, and mathematical formulas to create video reconstructions of the event and show how the plaintiff’s body reacted to the force of the impact. Through these reconstructions, expert witnesses can show the sequence of events that led up to the incident, the series of events that took place during the incident, and the physical forces that would have been present during the incident.
- Economic Experts: Economic experts are able to determine how a plaintiff’s injuries will have a lifetime impact on their finances. Economic experts handle damage calculations, business valuations, and lost earning calculations. These expert witnesses can help a jury understand the long-term monetary burden a plaintiff is facing due to their injuries.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Experts: Vocational rehabilitation experts interview plaintiffs and perform earning assessments regarding earning capacity, job demands, cost of replacement labor and ability to perform household duties. They are able to identify what a plaintiff could have earned before their injury and compare it to what they are likely to earn following their injury. Vocational rehabilitation experts can also offer insight into what the injured plaintiff’s job options and capability of working are.
- Psychological Experts: A subsector of medical experts, psychological experts can determine that a plaintiff has suffered psychologically and how. Psychological experts can be instrumental to increasing a plaintiff’s award for pain and suffering claims.
It is important to note that what is listed above is only a narrow scope of expert witnesses’ field of specialty.
Expert Witnesses Strengthen a Case
In personal injury matters, experts strengthen a plaintiff’s case by adding a basis and the data that supports the injured person’s claims. Expert witnesses do not have a stake in the outcome of a case, therefore offer unbiased opinions on a plaintiff’s monetary, physical, and emotional conditions. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to go over your individual case and determine whether hiring an expert would be beneficial in your case.
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