Are you embroiled in a complicated legal dispute? Are you concerned about your chances of obtaining compensation in your personal injury case? An expert witness statement can change the course of your complex litigation and help you receive the restitution you deserve. Filing a personal injury claim will not be enough to win your complex litigation. Only experts in the relevant fields can help the jury understand the complexities of the case and determine what is correct.
This article analyzes who can act as expert witnesses and the importance of the personal injury expert witness statements in litigations.
Table of Contents
Who Can be an Expert Witness?
Experts in any field can act as expert witnesses if they fulfill the requirements set by the respective state. They should have deep knowledge of the theories and principles in their respective field and should be able to communicate that effectively in the report and before the jury.
There are great differences when you compare expert witness vs fact witness. The lay/fact witnesses can only testify on what they have seen, heard, said, or done regarding the case, whereas the expert witness can render an opinion and conclusion based on the facts and evidence.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses play a vital role in litigations like personal injury cases, medical malpractice, product liability, divorce, child custody cases, criminal law, etc. Not all expert witnesses testify in court. The consulting expert witnesses will analyze the case and explain the nuances of the complications in litigations. They can do that verbally. In contrast, testifying witnesses should submit an expert witness statement and appear in court to testify in front of the jury or judge. Let’s see some of the examples of expert witnesses who testify in court.
- Accident Reconstruction Experts: Accident reconstruction is a scientific method of determining how and why an accident happened. This method is typically used by experts in the fields of traffic accident reconstruction engineering and physics, as well as police officers who have received this training. They testify on the factors leading to the crash.
- Biomechanical Experts: The biomechanical expert witnesses in the field investigate the effects of internal and external forces of colliding vehicles acting on a body to determine the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The dynamic interaction of outside forces with the human body and its systems is studied. The causes, types, and characteristics of injuries caused by those forces are analyzed to form an opinion.
- Engineering Experts: These expert witnesses testify in product liability cases to determine whether or not the product’s design and quality caused damages to the plaintiff when used as directed.
- Forensic Expert Witnesses: Forensic expert witnesses play roles in both criminal and civil cases. They collect evidence and background information and run various tests to systematically prove the arguments in the litigation. They conduct the tests in accordance with the protocols and procedures and prepare the report objectively. To back up their claims, forensic experts would conduct hair comparison analysis, shoeprint comparison analysis, forensic reconstruction of bullet trajectories, bite mark comparison, fingerprint identification, firearms tool mark identification analysis, and so on.
- Financial Experts: The lost wage expert witnesses offer their thoughts on lost wages and future wage loss. The plaintiffs, who had lost their future earning capacity or lost their workdays due to the disability from the injury can benefit from the testimony given by the wage loss expert witnesses.
- Medical Billing Experts: Medical billing experts examine the standard costs of procedures and physician consultation fees paid in the community and reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid. They also determine whether the cost is reasonable based on the code and whether the codes are bundled or unbundled. For example, a spinal injury medical billing expert witness can give expert testimony on the reasonableness of the spinal treatments you have undergone and strengthen your claim with facts and figures.
- Medical Expert Witnesses: Medical witness statements from experts, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, or surgeons, can be on the medical procedures and standard medical care provided to patients in medical malpractice cases, as well as the reasonableness of medical care provided to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. For example, the physical therapy expert witness may testify about the significance of the use of therapeutic exercise, manipulations, and massage therapy, in treating the plaintiffs efficiently.
- Mental Health Experts: Child abuse, depression, malpractice, PTSD, the standard of care, anxiety, nursing home abuses, psychology, psychotherapy, suicide, and trauma are all some of the scenarios where mental health expert witnesses provide their opinions.
- Parenting Experts: Parenting experts work with parents and children and testify on the care the children get at home, the addiction of the parents, child custody, and home abuse in civil cases.
- Securities Experts: They determine whether a bank or other financial institution failed to meet its legal obligations by acting or not acting, and they testify on their findings.
- Vocational Experts: They determine whether or not the plaintiffs are qualified to return to work in their formal capacity. If they can be trained and efficiently perform the set of tasks. They also make decisions on lost wages claims in personal injury cases.
- Phone record expert: These experts can easily analyze and find out if the defendant was distracted on phone by texting or talking while driving the vehicle to cause the accident.
Does Expert Witness Need Qualifications?
The Daubert standard or the Frye standard is used to qualify the expert witness. The Federal Rules of Evidence uses the Daubert standard, which is followed by more than 34 states. The Federal Rules of Evidence 702 had laid down rules to become an expert witness.
- A specialist’s knowledge of science, technology, or other specialized fields will assist a trier of fact in understanding the evidence or determining the fact in dispute;
- The expert witness statement is supported by substantial evidence;
- Sound ideas and procedures underpin the testimony; and
- The expert applies the concepts and practices consistently to the details of the case.
The scientific evidence submitted must be considered by the court as broadly acknowledged by a significant part of the connected scientific community to pass the Frye standard. This refers to any procedures, principles, or tactics that may be provided throughout a court case’s proceedings. In a practical implementation of this requirement, advocates of a hotly debated scientific subject were required to submit a number of specialists to testify to the scientific legitimacy of the issue in question. When innovative approaches were subjected to this requirement, courts were required to review papers, books, and legal precedents on the subject to determine their credibility and wide acceptability.
What is an Expert Witness Statement?
An expert witness statement is a report prepared by the retained expert witness after analyzing the facts and details of the case and giving objective findings of his/her observation and opinion, and testifying before the court based on the facts, he/she had evaluated. The expert witness statement should include the following:
How Does an Expert Witness Statement Fortify your Claim?
Don’t think that all the litigations need expert witness statements to win the reparation. An expert witness statement is needed to make the jury understand the complexities, only in complicated litigations where multiple defendants are involved, such as in multi-car collisions, pharmaceutical lawsuits, medical malpractice lawsuits, securities fraud, or patent infringement. Since they have specialized knowledge in specific fields, they can analyze the various principles and theories in their field and relate them to the particular case.
The cost of hiring an expert is frequently a deciding factor because hiring an expert is exorbitant. Experts bill not only for their testimony but also for the time it takes them to analyze the case and reach a consensus. As a result, hiring an expert can be quite expensive. The real potential of the expert’s testimony or evidence must be weighed against the cost. Only when concrete evidence, such as eyewitnesses or other solid proof, is lacking or insufficient to establish liability or damages your attorney would consider using an expert witness on the case.
Since the expert witnesses are not emotionally connected to the case, they can give objective statements without being influenced by the plaintiff or the defendant. Their opinions are strictly based on their analysis and their own. As they support their opinions with facts and evidence, the expert witness statement can add strength to your litigation.
When the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses testify, their expert witness statement of truth can lend validity and credibility to the findings by clarifying and explaining the arguments to the jury. An expert witness statement can also be used to demonstrate incorrect techniques or contradictory findings in other experts’ reports.
When the issue or argument in dispute is beyond the understanding of the commonfolk, jury, and others involved in the litigation, an expert witness statement can help them easily understand the theory behind it. The expert witness report can back up your arguments with evidence and facts by dissecting the complexities.
During depositions, experts can increase the credibility of their expert witness statements by presenting valid points of view and providing reliable and straightforward answers to the examiner. If your expert witness provides evasive and complicated answers during testimony, it will affect the reliability of the witness expert and the credibility of your case.
In some cases, to prove the severity of injuries, the treatments undergone by the plaintiff, the reasonability of the tests, findings in the imaging studies, and the necessity of the imaging and surgeries, treating physicians or surgeons can render their expert witness statement.
Providing their qualifications and experience in the particular field substantiates the expert witnesses’ eligibility and credibility to testify on the topic of dispute. An experienced witness expert’s prior testimony would also affirm their statements’ reliability.
However, keep in mind that if the expert witness could not substantiate his opinions with sufficient evidence, the defendants can seek the court to disqualify the expert witness and his testimony. For example, the inconsistencies in the medical documentation and the contradicting medical expert testimony can be a hindrance in getting your claim. Choosing the right and reliable witness expert can fortify your claim and aid you in winning the reparation.
THE ROLE OF THE EXPERT WITNESS IN FINDING FACTS AND ASSESSING CREDIBILITY – Civil Litigation Brief https://t.co/uivQsyQDoh
— Gordon Exall (@CivilLitTweet) August 26, 2022
Value of Expert Witness Statement in Winning Claims
In a construction accident claim, the plaintiff was run over by a truck at his workplace. The plaintiff was going to the other section of the workplace, behind the parked truck. The driver moved the truck backward without knowing the presence of the plaintiff. When he fell down from the first impact, the truck ran over him. The defense and their safety expert claimed that the plaintiff’s negligence was the cause of the accident and refused to settle the claim.
After the deposition testimony, the plaintiff’s attorney raised doubts about the defense expert’s credibility.
The plaintiff expert, who collaborated with the government on safety studies, demonstrated that the defendant was reckless with evidence. The jury was persuaded by the evidence and awarded the plaintiff’s family nearly $14 million.
In another case, the plaintiff was seriously injured in a multi-vehicle incident caused by a rear-end impact. A truck rear-ended his car, causing it to collide with the car in front of it. The plaintiff had spinal injuries and lower extremity injuries and had to undergo multiple surgeries. The defense team denied making a mistake and accused the plaintiff of unexpectedly slowing down, causing the defendant to crash. They rejected the plaintiff’s settlement demand outrightly.
The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert analyzed the skid marks, vehicle damage, the area of the accident, and injuries to the people involved, proving that the truck was traveling at a high speed exceeding the speed limit. The truck driver’s carelessness was identified and proven in court with evidence. The jury awarded the plaintiff $9 million in restitution.
To wind up,
Every case is unique. Getting an expert witness does not always ensure your compensation. Choosing a personal injury experts who has in-depth knowledge and experience in his field can consolidate your personal injury claim. Whether that be an accident reconstruction expert or a medical expert, their knowledge and expertise should authenticate your damages and claims to get your restitution.