Many different lawsuits, from personal injury to business damages, rely on the ability of the jury to clearly understand the facts, issues, and ramifications of a case. Using an expert witness as part of the case presentation is an excellent way to add credence to a particular argument, give a clear explanation of a complicated issue, or get likely long-term damages into evidence.
Who is an Expert?
Expert witnesses are approved by the court as experts on a particular matter. They must have appropriate and relevant education and/or training, as well as experience, skills, and personal knowledge. These factors will be taken together to determine whether they have the necessary background to be viewed as an expert in a particular case.
The court will often review an expert’s CV, any peer reviewed publications they have, their professional experience, whether they’ve served as an expert in previous cases, and their reputation to determine whether they can serve as an expert in the current case. For business litigation, there are accountants, subject matter experts, and others who specialize in providing independent reviews of a particular type of situation who are repeatedly serving as experts and are likely to receive court approval to present their reports and testimony. For real estate litigation, you may have architects, engineers, and even individuals from various trades qualified as experts.
While a lay witness (anyone who is not an expert) must testify only based on their own personal perceptions, an expert witness can elaborate on what they believe the evidence means. They are allowed to offer opinions of a scientific, technical, or specialized nature if that opinion is helpful to allow the judge or jury to understand a fact, their opinion is impartial and based on the facts, their methods are reliable, and they applied their methods to all the facts of the case. Opinion testimony offered by experts can be particularly persuasive as experts are viewed as impartial and generally offer their analysis with great confidence.
Experts are not only medical professionals but can also be forensic evidence specialists, auto accident specialists, engineers, auditors, security experts, and more. They can testify whether one party acted in a fashion that was negligent, they can explain complicated evidence, they can educate on specific topics or technologies in order to help the jury reach their own conclusions, and they can offer opinions and analyze results.
Does Your Case Need an Expert Witness?
Expert witnesses are paid to review evidence, create reports, attend depositions, and appear at trial. Therefore, your lawyer will only recommend using an expert if the value of the case is large enough and the expert can provide crucial, clarifying insight that they believe will help sway the case one way or the other.
If your case needs an expert, the experienced team of litigators at the Dunn Law Firm will help you identify the right person and work with them to create a compelling case. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.