Although you might not think that a personal injury case involves particularly complex issues, even the simplest case can be strengthened through technical or scientific testimony, and expert witnesses are typically required to establish this type of proof.
What Are Expert Witnesses?
Expert witnesses help a jury understand complex evidence. The types of professionals who have the specialized knowledge necessary to provide expert testimony, include:
- Medical experts, who testify as to the injuries or illnesses suffered, the resulting disabilities, and the likelihood that the conditions are related to the accident in question.
- Economists, who testify about long-term financial losses an injury may cause.
- Accident reconstruction experts, who provide an opinion about how an accident likely happened.
- Construction and safety experts, who testify about the presence of unsafe conditions.
- Vocational experts, who testify about how an individual’s injuries might affect his ability to work.
Why is Expert Testimony Necessary?
When an issue or theory is too complicated for the average juror to understand, an expert can explain complex concepts and provide a professional opinion for the jury to consider. For example:
- If an accident victim has a difficult time remembering key details, an accident reconstruction expert can help fill in the gaps.
- A treating physician or medical expert is qualified to testify regarding whether a plaintiff’s injuries are connected to the accident in question.
- When a plaintiff is no longer to perform the same work that he did before he was injured in an accident, vocational experts and economists may be called to testify about his future earning capacity.
If the plaintiff fails to call an expert witness to testify regarding complex issues, the court will generally not allow him to present such issues before the jury, which will likely reduce his potential for recovery.