Personal injury cases often involve complex medical or scientific facts that are challenging for the average person to analyze. So experienced attorneys in this area of law often rely on expert witnesses to explain the evidence and add greater credibility to a claim. Expert witnesses provide valuable knowledge that helps build a strong personal injury case.
What types of expert witnesses might your legal counsel choose to assist with certain aspects of your claim? Here’s what you should know.
Who Qualifies as an Expert Witness?
According to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, “a witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise” as long as the following criteria are met:
- The expert’s specialized knowledge helps the judge or jury better understand the evidence of or facts presented in your personal injury case.
- The witness provides testimony with competent data or facts.
- Their testimony is based on well-founded methods and principles.
- These methods and principles are the basis for analyzing the evidence and facts of your case.
Types of Expert Witnesses Used in Personal Injury Cases
The majority of law firms have developed relationships with experts in various fields. This is one of the many advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney—access to additional resources that help secure proper compensation. Upon reviewing your personal injury claim, your legal team may consult with the following:
- Accident reconstructionists. During a trial, they often use models and illustrations to show the court how your accident occurred.
- Department of Transportation specialists. Their knowledge assists in proving roadway issues were the cause of your automobile accident. This expert testimony supports your attorney's efforts to prove that a municipality such as a city, county, or state was liable for your accident.
- Life care planners. They quantify your present medical expenses as well as those which may arise in the future due to the life-long implications of your personal injury. A life care planner’s expert testimony helps ensure that the compensation you receive adequately reflects the long-term expenses associated with your injury.
- Economists. They can assist your attorney in valuing the amount of future lost wages related to your personal injury if you’re unable to work as a result.
Not every personal injury claim must be settled in court. Expert witnesses may also be called in during insurance company negotiations if there’s some dispute over the evidence of your case.