An expert witness is a person with specialized knowledge in a particular area of study that could provide valuable evidence in a personal injury case. Attorneys often consult expert witnesses during various stages of a case to obtain substantial evidence that supports their arguments. These witnesses can assist with accident investigations, offer opinions on how they occurred, and testify at trial.
Having expert witnesses can benefit your case significantly. You should immediately contact Finz & Finz, P.C. if you sustained an injury in an accident. We might be able to represent you and hire experienced expert witnesses to strengthen your case and improve your chance of receiving maximum compensation.
Who Is Qualified to Serve as an Expert Witness?
To be eligible to be called as an expert witness, a person must meet specific standards. The judge presiding over a personal injury lawsuit will determine whether the expert witnesses chosen by each attorney are qualified to testify as experts.
When deciding if a witness is an expert in their field or expertise, the judge might consider various factors, such as:
- Actual practice or work in the field of expertise
- Years of experience in the relevant subject matter
- Reputation within the respective field
- Specialized training, certifications, and knowledge
- Professional credentials, including training and education
- Peer-reviewed papers and articles
- Published studies and research
Typically, New York courts follow the Frye Standard when determining an expert witness’s qualifications. The standard requires an expert’s opinion to be acceptable within their field of expertise.
According to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, a witness qualified as an expert based on education, knowledge, experience, training, or skill can testify if their technical, scientific, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact determine a fact at issue or understand the evidence.
According to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 3101, each party in a personal injury lawsuit must identify each person they expect to call as an expert witness at trial. The parties must also provide reasonable details about:
- The subject matter the expert is qualified to testify about
- The substance of the opinions and facts they expect to comprise each expert’s testimony
- Each expert’s qualifications
- A summary of the grounds for each expert’s opinion
Common Types of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases
Multiple types of expert witnesses can be used in personal injury cases. The type you need will depend on the circumstances of your case. The most common types include:
- Medical experts – A medical expert can testify at trial about the severity of the injury you sustained in the accident. They might discuss permanent impairment or disabilities and whether the injury affects your daily routine or life. A medical expert in a medical malpractice case can explain the accepted medical standard of care and how the defendant’s actions did not meet the required standard of care.
- Accident reconstruction specialists – An accident reconstruction specialist can recreate a traffic accident. They use scientific methods to determine how a crash occurred to help the attorney establish fault and liability. They can also testify in court with evidence to support their findings about the cause of the accident and who might be responsible.
- Financial experts – Financial experts can address an accident victim’s lost wages, lost earning capacity, and medical expenses. They calculate an appropriate value for the victim’s losses so the attorney can justify the proposed compensation.
Personal injury attorneys might hire other expert witnesses, such as:
- Engineering experts
- Forensic experts
- Life care planning experts
- Cell phone records experts
- Vocational experts
- Road design experts
- Mental health experts
- Specialized medical experts, such as orthopedic surgeons and pain management doctors
- Commercial truck experts
What Expert Witnesses Do During Trials
Including an expert witness in accident investigations and trial proceedings offers numerous benefits. Experts give their opinions about the circumstances and facts that led to your injury. They can discuss who they believe is at fault based on the evidence and facts of the case and determine who might be liable for your injury.
Expert witnesses are often familiar with the legal process. They know how to comport themselves during questioning and cross-examination on the witness stand. They can confidently and professionally explain their findings and discuss the extent of your injury, losses, and other aspects of the case.
During your trial, the expert witnesses your personal injury lawyer hires have multiple responsibilities, including:
- Arguing against and disproving claims the opposing party’s expert witnesses make
- Offering opinions based on their experience, knowledge, and specializations
- Explaining complex and technical matters in ways the jury members can understand
- Making deductions according to acceptable scientific methods
- Providing unbiased, factual testimony about factors related to disputed issues
What Is the Difference Between an Expert Witness and Fact Witness?
An expert witness is only one type of witness in personal injury. Fact witnesses can also testify at trial. However, they differ from expert witnesses.
While an expert witness offers their opinions, a fact witness only discusses the facts related to the case. They have personal knowledge of the events or circumstances of the accident. Instead of providing opinions, they testify to their first-hand knowledge or direct experience.
Fact witnesses are often family members and friends who see how the accident impacts the victim’s home life, job, and relationships. A fact witness can also be an innocent bystander who saw what happened. They can describe how the accident occurred and each person’s actions in the moments leading up to the accident.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
A skilled and knowledgeable lawyer will handle every aspect of your case from start to finish. That could include hiring expert witnesses to help prove who should be liable for your injury.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., our New York personal injury attorneys have decades of litigation experience. We can take on insurance companies and negligent parties inside and outside the courtroom. When you hire us, we will protect your rights and fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.
Call Finz & Finz, P.C. at 855-TOP-FIRM for a free consultation if you sustained injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence.