Personal injury lawsuits are complex — and it’s impossible to present a case to a jury without delving into the technical and scientific nuances of a negligence claim. Often, an expert witness with specialized knowledge can help bolster a case by adding credibility, providing crucial testimony, and explaining the subject in a way the jury can understand. By using their professional training and education, an expert witness can support a strong argument to help you prevail in your personal injury action.
What is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is not to be confused with an eyewitness who observed the accident as it occurred. Unlike eyewitnesses who can provide testimony as to what they saw happen, there are specific qualifications for expert witnesses — their testimony goes far beyond common knowledge. They must possess the specialized skill, experience, training, or education necessary to render a reliable opinion concerning the subject matter.
An expert witness can be a consulting expert for an attorney, or they can provide testimony in the courtroom. In addition to their professional background, a good expert witness should have excellent credentials, a favorable reputation, and prior experience with personal injury cases. They should also regularly publish in peer-reviewed journals and have dedicated a large portion of their time to professional practice or teaching.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can be brought in by either the plaintiff and defendant in a personal injury case. They are meant to help a jury understand evidence, especially when the facts at issue must be explained in a way that is difficult to comprehend. However, an expert witness is not an advocate for either side, regardless of who retained them. Instead, they are meant to provide an objective source of knowledge.
Various types of expert witnesses that may be used in a personal injury case can include the following:
- Accident Reconstruction Specialists — Experts in accident reconstruction use models and computer programs to recreate an accident and determine its cause. They may also use these tools to determine things such as the speed of a vehicle at the time of the crash or how a body was injured in the accident.
- Economic Experts — An economic expert can explain to a jury how a victim’s injuries impacted them financially, assess long-term medical costs, and calculate other future accident-related expenses.
- Medical Experts and Physicians — Medical experts and a victim’s treating physician can testify about a victim’s injuries and treatment options. They can also discuss the past and future impact of the injuries and the need for long-term medical care.
- Mental Health Experts — Accident-related injuries can take a substantial emotional toll on a victim. A mental health expert may help establish a victim’s pain and suffering by providing testimony as to how the accident affected them emotionally and psychologically.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Experts — These types of experts can provide testimony regarding an accident victim’s employability and earning capacity following their injury.
- Manufacturing Experts — In cases involving defective products, a manufacturing expert might be used to testify about industry standards and how a part or mechanism failed to meet them.
An expert witness can make all the difference to the outcome of a personal injury case. Whether you’ve been in a car crash, construction accident, or a slip and fall, a good personal injury lawyer will know what type of expert is needed to help ensure maximum compensation is secured in your case.
Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffered injuries due to the negligence of another, it’s essential to have a personal injury attorney on your side who can assist you with obtaining the monetary recovery you deserve. Due to our experience, knowledge, and skill, we regularly secure verdicts and settlements in the millions for our clients.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they get the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.