Expert Witnesses: Who Are They and Why Are They Important in Personal Injury Cases?

An expert witness is a special kind of witness that can testify in a personal injury case. If there is a scientific issue in your case, an expert witness can explain it to a jury. Expert witnesses testify to their knowledge in a subject area and then give their opinions regarding evidence in a case.

Expert witnesses are different from lay witnesses. The latter testify about something they personally know or observed about issues related to the case. An expert typically does not have any personal knowledge of the facts at issue.

According to Rule 90.702 of the Florida Statutes, an expert witness is an individual who has specialized knowledge in a specific field. This knowledge can be used to help explain facts in a given case. 

If you have questions about expert witnesses, make sure you speak to an experienced attorney who can help you.

What Makes Someone an Expert Witness?

Not anyone can be an expert witness. In Florida, a court must first agree that an expert witness is needed for a given case. The court must also agree that the scientific field that the expert proposes to discuss is a real and recognized field. While people may consider themselves experts on certain topics, an expert witness is one who has special training or education in a field.

If a judge allows an expert witness to testify, they will only be allowed to discuss certain aspects of the case. An expert witness can make conclusions about the case by using accepted scientific methods in their field. A jury will have the option to agree or reject the expert’s testimony. 

How Does a Court Qualify an Expert Witness?

Before an expert witness can testify, they are subject to voir dire. Voir dire is a procedure where attorneys on both sides of the case can ask questions to determine the extent of an expert’s qualifications. The judge can also ask questions during this process. The expert can be questioned about their experience, research, and even how much they were paid to be there. 

These questions help establish the expert’s competency to testify in a case. After voir dire, the judge will determine whether the expert is qualified to be an expert witness in the current trial. If the judge deems the individual as an expert, then the expert can testify.

What Types of Cases Use Expert Witnesses?

Expert witnesses can be useful for many reasons. 

Expert witnesses are commonly used in the following areas:

·      Forensics

·      Accident reconstruction

·      DNA analysis

·      Fingerprint analysis

·      Machine explanations

·      Medical Malpractice

·      Handwriting examinations

You might need an expert for a different reason. It is common for both sides to have expert witnesses that view the evidence in a case differently. When this happens, a jury will be faced with determining which expert they believe to be correct. This dilemma is known as “the battle of the experts.”

A jury may also find that neither expert is correct. Juries are instructed to view the testimony of an expert witness like other witnesses in a case. 

It is important to hire the best possible expert witness for your case. An expert witness can make or break your claim.

How Can an Expert Witness Help Your Case?

If there is a scientific or technical issue in your case, hiring an expert may be necessary. If you file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident, then you might need an accident reconstructionist. This expert witness can paint a picture of what happened so a jury can reach the appropriate result. 

If a product harms you, you might need an expert who can describe how the product was defective. This expert can explain to the jury how the product should have been manufactured or designed. Such testimony may prove that the defendant should be held responsible for your losses. 

Medical malpractice cases in Florida require expert medical testimony. Medical experts will testify to the standard of care a medical professional should have provided under the circumstances.

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney for Help

We’ve already mentioned that an expert witness can be a difference-maker in your case. Your personal injury attorney will likely be even more of a boon to your case. 

Your personal injury attorney will conduct an investigation into your accident to gather evidence of another party’s negligence. They will analyze your damages and identify all parties that are liable for them.

Your personal injury attorney will also know the right experts who can help your case. That’s why you should contact our law office in Clearwater at (727) 796-8282 for help after your accident or injury.