Expert witnesses are not needed in every personal injury claim, but if your case goes to court, it can make a significant difference to the outcome of your case. However, choosing the right witness is important too. Read on to learn more about expert witnesses and how they can make or break an injury claim.
Our Grand Rapids personal injury lawyers at Jay Trucks are prepared to help accident victims injured by the negligent acts of others. While we do all we can to avoid a trial, if one is necessary, we are prepared. This includes fighting for maximum compensation on your behalf and choosing an expert witness, as needed, that can help benefit your claim.
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When an Expert Witness May Benefit an Injury Claim
Expert witnesses are sometimes confused with someone who was an eyewitness to the accident. However, expert witnesses are not people who saw your accident happen. They are leaders in their field and have special knowledge and training. The testimony of these experts is important as they are able to better explain details that are important to your claim by:
- Adding clarity about complex facts – for instance, a medical doctor explaining the extent of a victim’s injuries and the impact on his or her life
- Establishing proof of negligence – such as an accident reconstructionist showing computer-created videos of how an accident occurred
- Providing an unbiased and objective point of view to help strengthen and build credibility for your claim
As neutral third parties, the testimony of a respected expert often carries more weight in a court trial. This is good for your claim, and it may often help to sway the jury in your favor.
Different Claims May Need Different Experts
Your attorney will know when an expert witness may benefit your claim. There are many types of experts that may provide value to a hard-to-prove injury claim, such as those who have special knowledge and training in:
- Accident reconstruction: These experts use evidence from the scene to recreate the accident. Then, using visuals, timelines and other computer-generated visual aids, they help provide answers to details that were not previously clear. For example, a timeline of events and how they led up to the cause of a crash.
- Medical/health industry: A medical expert, such as a doctor, is helpful in explaining the severity and extent of a victim’s injuries. Additionally, a medical expert can also help the jury understand the full impact of a victim’s injuries on his or her life and his or her ability to earn a living.
- Engineering: Especially useful in premises liability claims, these experts can explain the evidence that shows how a road was not properly maintained or how a building collapsed because of a lack of structural integrity.
- Manufacturing: Experts who are useful in defective products claims can clarify how a product was intended to be used, how it failed to work as intended, and how that failure caused injury to the plaintiff.
- Mental health: A expert in the mental health field can explain how a trauma, such as a car crash, can have long-term effects on a victim’s mental health. Some victims, for instance, have long-term emotional trauma, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, a mental health expert can explain whether the mental health injuries has any impact on a victim’s ability to work or return to his or her pre-accident lifestyle.
- Economic/financial: Experts in this field may help the jury to better understand the economic damages a victim has suffered because of the accident.
Could an Expert Witness Hurt Your Claim?
When it comes to providing testimony at a trial, some experts are better than others. An expert who comes across as condescending, unlikable or untrustworthy may not be a good choice.
In a trial, it is not just about knowing the facts, it is also about perception. Expert witnesses must be able to communicate information in a way that seems friendly, believable and authoritative.
Additional traits of an expert witness include those who are:
- Consistent in their testimony– especially when repeating or recalling information
- Able to teach or explain difficult details to the jury in an easy-to-understand way
- Qualified due to special knowledge and training and highly respected in their field
- Credible as a non-biased and objective expert who can gain the trust of the jury
- Friendly and with an air of likeability that helps him or her to connect to the jury
- Prepared and professional, both in the way they dress and their testimony
Need Help Finding a Trusted Lawyer? Call Our Firm Today
After being injured because of another person’s negligence, it is important to seek legal help without delay. Having a qualified attorney on your side may significantly benefit your claim.
At Jay Trucks, we are prepared to work tirelessly on your behalf. Our law offices are available to take your call anytime, night or day, and we have a strong and proven track record. Learn more about how we may be able to help you with your claim – your initial case review is completely free. While there is no obligation to move forward, if we represent you, there is nothing to pay upfront or while your case is in progress.
We only get paid if we win. Call (800) 762-8623 today.