Feb 19, 2020 Catastrophic Personal Injury, Personal Injury
You need ample evidence to prove a personal injury claim and get the compensation you deserve. Most victims think of proof as physical evidence from a car crash or video footage of an illegal act. But factual evidence can also play a significant role in your claim. One of the most influential forms of factual evidence is the testimony of an expert witness.
3 Frequently Asked Questions About Expert Witnesses
- Who can be an expert witness? Anyone with specialized knowledge pertinent to the facts of you case.
- Who pays for hiring an expert witness? Your attorney will hire any necessary experts and deduct the costs from your recovery amount.
- Do I need an expert witness for my case? Although not required by law, expert witnesses might be necessary to prove your claim.
Keep reading to learn more about the role of expert witnesses and how they can be crucial to a successful personal injury claim.
What Are Expert Witnesses?
Unlike a witness who saw a car crash or other injuring event, an expert witness typically has no connection to the incident or victim. Expert witnesses use their specialized knowledge to help attorneys and juries understand the nuances and technical facts of a case.
Under Texas law, a qualified expert witness is anyone with “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge” that will help a judge or jury understand the evidence and facts in a case.
An attorney may consult with several expert witnesses in different fields, such as a medical professional to describe the victim’s injuries and a manufacturing expert to explain how a product was defective and could cause those injuries.
“Expert witnesses use their specialized knowledge to help attorneys and juries understand the nuances and technical facts of a case.“
Why Are Expert Witnesses Important in a Personal Injury Case?
When you and the defendant dispute the cause of an injury, it’s up to both sides to provide evidence and support for their opposing claims. Expert witnesses do not have a stake in the outcome of a case and therefore offer an unbiased opinion. Due to their expertise and unbiased nature, expert witnesses can be among the most valuable evidence for your case.
Do I Need an Expert Witness for My Personal Injury Claim?
The courts rarely require the use of expert witnesses, so you do not necessarily need to hire one for your personal injury claim. Hiring experts without reason will cost you extra money without providing any benefits. However, an expert witness could also mean the difference between whether you recover compensation for your injuries or how much you receive.
This balance is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will be able to determine whether consulting an expert is beneficial for your specific case. Like attorney fees and other case-related expenses, the cost of consulting with an expert attorney comes out of your total recovery amount, not out of your pocket.
Attorneys generally consult with expert witnesses on complex cases, such as those involving:
- Crashes with more than two vehicles
- Commercial vehicle crashes
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Medical malpractice
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4 Expert Witnesses Attorneys Frequently Consult
An expert witness can be any specialist whose knowledge base provides useful information for a specific case. The experts your attorney will consult with will depend on the type of case — whether a car crash, medical malpractice, premise liability, or product liability claim.
While this list could include a nearly endless number of specialists and professionals, there are a few experts with whom attorneys commonly consult for personal injury claims.
1) Medical Professionals
A medical expert witness could be someone who examined the victim personally or an expert in the condition the victim is suffering from. Medical professionals can attest to the extent of the injury sustained by the victim and how this injury could affect their livelihood.
In medical malpractice cases, medical professionals can also testify to the standard of care that the negligent doctor should have taken when treating the victim’s specific condition. Failure to treat a patient according to the generally accepted standard of care is concrete proof of negligence.
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2) Mental Health Specialists
Severe physical injuries often leave an emotional impact on the victim. Mental health specialists can explain how psychological conditions like anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression can drastically affect the victim’s ability to work, enjoy life, or even function independently.
The testimonies of mental health specialists can help victims receive compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
3) Life Care Planners
Life care planners take the testimonies of medical and mental health professionals even further. The sole role of life care planners is to determine the physical and financial deficits the injury will cause the victim throughout their recovery — or for the rest of their life. These could include:
- Earning capacity
- Life expectancy
- Physical therapy costs
- Level of disability
- Counseling costs
4) Accident Reconstructions
Accident reconstructionists often have backgrounds in engineering or physics and use their knowledge to create drawings, physical replicas, or digital models of car crashes or other incidents based on factual evidence and witness testimonies. Attorneys typically consult reconstructionists when there is some doubt as to the specific events or order of events in a personal injury incident.
Crosley Law Works With Experts Nationwide to Get the Compensation Our Clients Deserve
Request Your Free Consultation
Crosley Law has an extensive national network of experts that we frequently consult with and ask to testify in personal injury cases. Our attorneys have experience determining the necessity of hiring these experts, as well as which experts to hire for each case.
If you or a loved one has been injured by someone else’s negligence, contact our attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options. Call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or complete this brief contact form to get started toward your financial recovery.
Tex. R. Evid. 702 (2018). Retrieved from https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1442383/texas-rules-of-evidence-updated-with-amendments-effective-112018.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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