Witnesses are the people who directly observe the events surrounding a personal injury, and then testify about them in court. Another group of witnesses provides testimony about more technical, scientific, and specialized subjects. These individuals are known as expert witnesses, and for personal injury victims, they play a critical role in winning compensation.
Why an Expert Witness Is Important for Your Case
The main difference between an ordinary witness and an expert witness is the subject matter they’re qualified to talk about in court. Ordinary witnesses are competent to testify about personal knowledge they have or anything they see, hear, or otherwise detect. They can discuss relevant facts concerning the personal injury, the parties to the lawsuit, and much more. However, these witnesses are not competent to discuss matters that require professional expertise or specialized knowledge. Those topics are reserved for expert witnesses.
An automobile accident is a great example of how expert witnesses help. An ordinary witness who happens to be standing on the sidewalk can describe seeing the at-fault driver lose control of the vehicle immediately before striking the victim. But the expert witness can analyze complex scientific and forensic evidence picked up from the scene, such as skid marks, and give an opinion on whether the at-fault driver was speeding. Often, the expert’s testimony is much more difficult to contradict than that of an ordinary witness.
The plaintiff’s expert witness helps members of the jury understand key information that establishes the defendant’s liability. These are some examples:
- The exact sequence of events leading up to the injury
- The role that the defendant’s negligence played in the injury
- Safety measures that could have prevented the injury
- The long-term physical consequences of the injury for the victim
Experts often discuss matters that are not readily apparent to an untrained eye. For example, the defendant may attempt to explain how a car accident happened in a way that doesn’t make him or her appear liable. But the evidence might not support this theory, and the expert witness can dissect and refute it.
The Different Types of Expert Witnesses
These are a few of the different types of expert witnesses:
- Medical experts. Testify about the victim’s injuries, long-term prognosis, necessary future treatments, and much more. Present and future medical costs are a major portion of the compensation that victims demand in personal injury lawsuits.
- Accident reconstruction experts. Explain in detail how the accident happened based on forensic evidence. They can testify about topics like the speed and trajectory of the responsible driver’s vehicle.
- Vocational experts. Can explain what impact the personal injury will have on the victim’s future career prospects and ability to work. Lost future earnings is another category of possible damages in personal injury cases.
Your Maryland personal injury attorney will review the evidence in your case and discuss with you whether an expert witness should be consulted. The law firm of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP has a network of expert witnesses we rely upon to make a compelling case in court and support your demand for compensation. There’s a lot on the line with your case, and you deserve a law firm that knows how to win. Call us today to find out more.