When a car accident leaves you with damaged property and physical injuries, it can be difficult to move forward. Facing physical and emotional recoveries and the task of sorting through property damage can be an overwhelming time. Often, victims are forced to pursue a personal injury case against the negligent driver responsible for the crash to obtain compensation for their injuries. This compensation is not just punishment for a careless person, but it is meant to help the victim receive proper medical care and enable him to remain financially secure despite missed work. These cases, like most legal matters, depend on the facts of the case and the testimony of witnesses. Witnesses help to paint a clear picture of the situation—how the crash occurred, who was at fault, what actions and reactions the drivers made, and even how the accident is affecting the victim moving forward. Expert witnesses offer special knowledge that can be crucial in deciding an injury settlement.
What Is an Expert Witness?
In general, the courts do not allow witnesses to make statements of their own opinions. Expert witnesses are an exception, however. A witness is considered an expert if they have special knowledge, training, experience, skill, or education in a particular field related to the case. They are allowed to offer an opinion regarding specific aspects of the case to help substantiate or discredit a claim made by either side. Experts can be used both in and out of the courtroom. There are two main ways they are used:
- Consulting expert. A consulting expert is used outside of the courtroom to explain important and complicated issues associated with the case. A consulting expert’s knowledge can help the victim and legal team understand the situation more fully and decide how best to move forward.
- Testifying expert. A testifying expert appears in court before the judge and jury. This expert must be able to clearly and effectively communicate the details relevant to the accident.
An expert can serve as both a consulting and testifying expert. The qualifications of an expert witness can be challenged by opposing parties, and a judge has the final say as to whether the witness can be considered an expert for the purposes of the case.
What Types of Experts Might Be Helpful in a Car Accident Case?
Every case is unique, so a variety of expert witnesses might be used. Depending on the factors of each situation, different experts could be called to offer critical information to the court or to insurance companies. While an expert witness is not always required, they can help lend credibility and support in a case. Some common expert witnesses for car crash cases include:
- Medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can testify to the severity of injuries, the pain experienced by the victims, and the prognosis going forward.
- Engineers. Different types of engineers can offer information about the construction and condition of the roadway or even the physics involved in an accident.
- Economists. An economist can help explain the financial effects the accident will have on the victim and his family, both now and in years to come. They can help determine potential earnings, value of assets, and more.
- Toxicologists. If the at-fault driver was impaired at the time of the crash, a toxicologist can help determine what substance had been used and the level impairment. They can help show that the impairment contributed to the accident.
- Accident reconstructionists. These witnesses offer a unique service, as they can help re-create the accident scene and show how exactly the crash played out. This can help demonstrate fault, which is vital to a personal injury case.
Will Using an Expert Witness Help My Case?
It is the assumption that an expert witness will offer insight and support to a claim that would otherwise be unavailable. They can provide useful information that can help convince a judge, jury, or opposing representatives of the opposing party’s fault. This can help you secure the compensation you and your family both need and deserve. Only those experts who have relevant and beneficial testimony that can make a difference in a claim should be secured. An experienced lawyer can help victims find reliable expert witnesses who are appropriate for your case. There is typically a cost associated with these types of witnesses, so you and your lawyer can decide together if the witness is worth the cost to your case.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be eligible to file a claim against the negligent driver responsible. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and a member of the Kennedy Hodges, LLP legal team will call you back to discuss your situation. Our lawyers can help you understand your rights and help you decide how best to move forward with your case.