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Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases
The victim is the most important person in any personal injury case. However, many judges and juries do not think that the victim should be the only one telling their story at a trial. Having witnesses who are impartial and credible bolster your account of the events and can significantly help your case.
Another type of witness is equally important—the expert. In many situations, you need someone who has specialized knowledge in a particular field to explain a concept or collaborate your version of the events or your injuries. Expert witnesses are an important part of many personal injury cases.
Who is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness has specialized training, knowledge, and experience in a particular field. He or she often has specific technical expertise in a vital aspect of the case. While regular witnesses have often seen or heard something regarding the accident or your injuries, expert witnesses may not have any personal knowledge about you, your injuries, or your accident.
Typical Expert Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case
If you were involved in a car crash, for example, there are specific types of experts that may be helpful for your claim.
- Accident Reconstructionist
- Maintenance Specialists
- DOT Regulations Specialists
- Medical Experts
- Phone Records Specialist
An accident reconstructionist will often provide a “consultant” role in car crash cases. They often provide information about how the accident may have occurred by testifying about braking, acceleration, speed, steering angles, right-of-way, and crashworthiness.
In cases where vehicle maintenance is a focus, such as in large commercial truck accidents, it may be helpful to have someone who can explain maintenance requirements to a judge or jury. The average person likely does not know the type of regular maintenance required for a large truck, and this kind of expert can provide that information and issue an opinion as to whether maintenance standards were violated.
Vehicles must meet certain safety standards under federal law. Someone familiar with DOT regulations can talk about the safety of certain equipment or vehicle features, including tires, airbags, and helmets. This type of expert is often used if there are allegations that a driver or manufacturer failed to follow federal regulations.
Medical experts can provide opinions regarding causation of your injuries and what your future care may be. These experts are critical to both develop your case and prove what your future damages may be. In most situations, treating doctors are not considered experts, but you may be able to get some of the same information from your personal physician as well.
Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents every year. If you can show that the other driver was on their phone or texting when the accident occurred, then that can significantly help your case. Having someone explain phone records and help you introduced evidence about cell phone use can be very beneficial.
Getting the Right Experts
Knowing which experts to use in your case can be a challenge. The right expert will depend on the unique facts of the case and what you are trying to show. A personal injury lawyer who works with experts on a regular basis will be an invaluable resource to help you develop your case.