What is the Role of an Expert Witness in an Injury Claim?

witness standIt may be necessary to find an expert witness to help validate different aspects of a case, such as the value of the victim’s damages or the connection between negligence and the injury that occurred.

The insurance company may also bring in an expert witness as they attempt to deny or devalue a claim. For example, their witness may explain why an injury should not be linked to negligence, or to dispute the injury’s severity.  

Below, the Charleston personal injury lawyers from Roden Law discuss expert witnesses and how they may help an injury claim. If you have questions about this or any other aspect of the legal process, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We may be able to help you.

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is usually a professional in a designated field who may be considered an expert due to knowledge, skill, experience, training or education. Generally, expert witnesses are:

  • Medical professionals – They may provide testimony about your injuries, including how they may be linked to the accident. They may also be brought in to dispute the defense’s claims your injuries were caused by a preexisting condition.
  • Mental health specialists – They may discuss how your injuries and the accident caused emotional trauma that would not have otherwise occurred. They may also speak to the severity of the emotional trauma to help validate the amount you are claiming for pain and suffering and other emotional damages.
  • Accident reconstructionists – They may speak to liability for an accident by reconstructing the scene of the crash to explain how and why it happened.
  • Lifecare planners– These professionals determine physical and financial difficulties an injury victim may face because of an accident, such as treatment and care costs, level of disability and more. 

As licensed professionals, these experts are often used in court cases to help bolster an argument from either side.

What Does an Expert Witness Do?

The role of an expert witness in a personal injury claim is to provide clarity. Generally, this is done by testifying in front of a jury. Usually, both legal teams are provided the opportunity to question the expert just as they would any other witness. The questions generally pertain to the witness’s area of expertise as it relates to the accident.

How Can an Expert Witness Help My Case?

Having an expert witness testify on your behalf helps lend credibility to your case and may help validate your claim and the value of your damages.

An injury victim’s doctor may be called in as an expert witness to detail the severity of the injury and recommended treatments. In addition to testimony about treatment, your legal team could also enlist the help of a financial expert who may explain how much the necessary treatment is likely to cost.

In a case where the injured victim is seeking compensation for pain and suffering, a mental health expert could speak to the emotional damage caused by an accident.

Expert witness testimony may also help in proving liability if the at-fault party is denying it. An accident reconstruction expert, who is usually someone with advanced knowledge of engineering and physics, may help reconstruct an accident scene to explain how it happened.

When Should an Expert Witness be Used in an Injury Claim?

Although the upfront cost of an expert witness is usually covered by your attorney (as part of the contingency agreement), it is generally a good idea to hold off on hiring an expert witness unless it is necessary.  

Often, attorneys may not hire an expert witness until a lawsuit is filed and the discovery phase of the case begins.

Call an Experienced Attorney for Assistance

Expert witnesses may provide the testimony you need to validate your claim at trial. They could be the difference in you recovering adequate compensation for your damages, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity and other damages.

The attorneys at Roden Law are prepared to review your claim and work with you to pursue full compensation. We can bring in expert witnesses if necessary and take other steps to help validate your claim.

Our attorneys have a proven track record of recovering millions on behalf of our clients and are ready to do the same for you.