Expert witness testimony often plays an important role in personal injury cases. Whether the case goes to trial or settles beforehand, the case can hinge on the findings of an expert witness.
What is an expert witness?
An expert witness is a person who is permitted to testify at trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case. An expert witness may be used to testify to certain facts of the case or to refute inaccurate testimony given by the opposing side. In fact, there are many different types of expert witnesses that may be used in personal injury cases.
The following are a few examples of expert witnesses who may be used in personal injury cases:
Car Accident Reconstructionist
A car accident reconstructionist can be used to reconstruct the car accident, analyze the collision, and offer findings regarding injuries, collision speed, and other issues related to car accidents.
A medical doctor can be used to objectively review the facts of the case, injuries, medical treatments, and to clarify any relevant medical questions. This type of expert witness is particularly important in cases involving permanent injuries, as they can help determine the medical care that will be needed in the future.
In many industries, companies are required to perform certain maintenance on their machinery. The testimony of a maintenance specialist can demonstrate when injuries are caused by improper maintenance or a failure to perform maintenance.
What is the standard required of expert witness testimony?
In general, witnesses are prohibited from testifying based on their opinions; however, experts witnesses may testify about their conclusions in a case as long as they meet the standard required of expert witness testimony. Expert testimony should be relevant, reliable, and scientifically sound.
The Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. listed several factors for judges to consider when determining whether to admit expert testimony. 509 U.S. 579 (1993). The factors under the Daubert Standard to be considered are: whether the theory or technique used by the expert are generally accepted in the scientific community, whether the findings have been subjected to peer review and publication, whether it can be and has been tested, and whether the rate of error is acceptable.
Who pays for an expert witness?
When you retain Miller Lathrop to represent you in your personal injury case, we cover all costs and fees up front. This includes the costs of hiring expert witnesses. The case costs and attorneys fees are paid after the conclusion of your case, from the settlement or jury award. If you do make a recovery in your case, you pay us nothing. We invite you to learn more in our article How Much Will Pursuing My Personal Injury Case Cost Me?
Expert witnesses may be retained if we file a lawsuit for your personal injury claim. At Miller Lathrop our practice has proved that about 65% of all cases we handle are resolved by settlement without ever filing a lawsuit. If we do file a lawsuit, understand that only about 10 percent of all cases filed ever go to trial. However, even if your case settles before trial we may still need to retain expert witnesses. Reports and findings provided by experts who could testify at the trial often help us negotiate favorable settlements for our clients.
All of us here at Miller Lathrop are highly experienced, skilled, and compassionate advocates for our clients. We’re dedicated to making a difference in the life of each person we represent. Combined our attorneys of Miller Lathrop have more than 50- years of successful personal injury advocacy that is demonstrated by numerous testimonials.
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Miller Lathrop was voted Omaha Magazine’s Best of Omaha, as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, and attorney Matt Miller holds a 10 Superb top attorney Avvo Rating.