When you bring a personal injury lawsuit, you must be prepared to prove your damages within a reasonable degree of certainty. This doesn’t mean picking a number that seems fair, or simply guessing what happened when facts are in dispute. In many cases, expert witnesses are required to establish this type of proof.
What Are Expert Witnesses?
Expert witnesses are individuals who have scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge that will help a jury to understand complex evidence or establish a disputed fact.
In a personal injury case, several types of witnesses might be called to provide expert testimony:
- Medical experts, who testify as to the injuries or illnesses suffered by the plaintiff and whether the conditions are related to the accident in question.
- Economists, who testify about the long-term losses an injury may have caused.
- Accident reconstruction experts, who testify about how an accident likely happened.
- Vocational experts, who testify regarding how a plaintiff’s injuries will affect his future earning capacity.
Why is Expert Testimony Necessary?
When an issue or dispute is too complicated for the ordinary juror to understand, an expert is needed to explain complex concepts and provide opinions to the jury. Consider these examples:
- Sometimes a person involved in an accident has a difficult time remembering exactly what happened, and an accident reconstruction expert can help fill in the gaps.
- Although an accident victim is aware of his injuries, a treating physician or medical expert can relate them to the accident in question, provide an opinion regarding the necessity of future medical treatment, and give the jury a concrete number regarding what such treatment will likely cost.
- If a plaintiff is no longer to perform the same work that he did before the injury or is unable to work at all, vocational experts and economists are trained to testify about how his future earning capacity has been affected.
Expert witnesses play an integral role in many personal injury cases, and provide valuable assistance to help give clarity to a variety of contested issues.