Why Are Expert Witnesses Used in Car Accident Cases?
Many kinds of evidence may be used in a car accident case, and often expert witnesses are brought in to explain presented evidence and give context. Both the plaintiff and the defendant can bring in expert witnesses to prove their respective cases.
Expert witnesses are different than eyewitnesses, for the latter are individuals who witness the car accident transpire. Expert witnesses, on the other hand, are individuals who possess a deep understanding of a subject, and their expertise and knowledge are both trusted by the court.
So what kind of expert witnesses are there, when will an expert witness be brought in, and what does somebody need to do to be considered an expert witness? For answers to these questions and others that are related to them, read through the sections below.
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What Kind of Car Accident Expert Witnesses Are There?
A variety of expert witnesses can be brought in to testify on your behalf. For example, if you were involved in an intersection car accident, your car accident lawyer may bring in an accident reconstruction expert. In clear terms, this expert will break down how the accident transpired. Their objective point of view when reconstructing the accident is likely to play a major role in determining where fault lies.
Similarly, an expert physician can be brought in, and this witness will examine the plaintiff’s medical records and bills to determine whether or not the bills are commensurate with the injuries. And a medical expert can also explain the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries to the jury.
A car accident lawyer may also bring in a product liability expert to show how a vehicle malfunction was responsible for a car accident and not their client’s negligence. Even if a case doesn’t go to trial, an expert can be used to persuade your insurance company into awarding fair compensation.
What Makes Someone a Car Accident Expert Witness?
To be deemed an expert, an individual will have to show they possess expertise and a wealth of specific knowledge that the ordinary person does not have. A court has to approve an expert before they can testify, but there are no specific rules that determine who’s a qualified expert and who isn’t; a court will approve and reject potential experts on a case by case basis.
There could be multiple experts at one trial, especially if the case is a complex one. And it’s likely involved experts will say contradictory things, which means deciding who’s believable may be hard for the jurors. A good expert is persuasive, though they can’t show they’re partial to either side, as doing so would jeopardize their credibility.
The best way to go about hiring an expert is to hire somebody who’s proven they can help individuals in a similar situation receive favorable outcomes.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Expert Witness?
A credible and persuasive expert witness can be a valuable asset in a car accident case. They’ll be able to convey their knowledge to the jury and explain essential information in a way that’s easy to understand. Even though you pay an expert witness to give their opinion, they would never lie, purger themselves, or jeopardize their credibility to say what you want to hear.
Therefore, you should select expert witnesses who will speak to the facts and the facts only. If you truly bear no fault for the accident, the expert’s clear explanation of the facts will show this, and you’ll be awarded damages accordingly. But bringing on an expert witness is not free, and this reality is discussed in the next section.
Why Do Some Plaintiffs Refuse to Bring On Expert Witnesses?
Bringing on an expert witness will increase the overall cost of bringing a case quite significantly. And since this cost is considered a legal fee, it’ll be deducted from your award amount after your lawyer takes their 25 to 40% as a contingency fee. (But if you’re at the point where expert witnesses are needed, it’s likely the case has gone to trial, in which case your lawyer will probably be taking 40%.) You could pay thousands to have an expert witness testify on your behalf.
If your case is not going to yield a large damages figure, it may be good to forgo using the expert witnesses and instead rely on other evidence and your lawyer’s legal acumen. But if the case is one where hundreds of thousands of dollars are in the balance, it’s worth every cent to bring on an expert witness if they can convince the jury to rule in your favor.
What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Do to Get the Right Witnesses to Testify for You?
A car accident lawyer will know when it’s the right time to bring on an expert witness, and they’ll know whether or not expert witness testimony will make a difference. Of course they won’t bring on a witness without running this by you first. And they’ll make sure they explain all the costs and benefits that come with hiring an expert witness. If your car accident lawyer is experienced, and they’ve been practicing in the same area for more than a decade, it’s likely they have expert witnesses on deck who can provide useful services, perhaps even at a reduced hourly rate.
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