Expert Witnesses and Your Personal Injury Claim
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Suffering a personal injury can be devastating, causing expensive doctor’s visits while also missing work. It also impacts your overall physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Filing a personal injury claim may be the best way to recoup expenses and gain justifiable compensation.
Working with experienced personal injury attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., in Michigan, allows you to focus on your recovery, knowing specialists are working to achieve a successful outcome for your claim. This may include bringing in expert witnesses to bolster your case.
What is an Expert Witness?
While your claim benefits from eyewitnesses to whatever accident caused your personal injury, the addition of one or more expert witnesses can increase the likelihood of success in winning your case.
An expert witness is a highly educated and trained professional, knowledgeable in a particular area relevant to your injury and the circumstances that caused it. These experts provide testimony based on this knowledge, plus any specific skills they have and prior experience.
A few of the qualifications your attorneys look for in an expert witness include:
- Credentials, including professional degrees, licenses, and certifications
- Professionally respected by peers and others
- Testifying experience
The most commonly used expert witnesses are those professionals with a technical or medical background, but it can vary depending on your case. These witnesses also give unbiased testimony, absent of emotions that eyewitnesses may provide.
How Can Expert Witnesses Help Your Claim?
Expert witnesses can help your claim by testifying on issues out of the range of lay witnesses and add explanations where needed. For example, their testimony often helps a jury better understand the facts or evidence of a case.
Your personal injury lawyer uses expert witness testimonies to support your case for several reasons, including:
- They provide expert testimony and can also counter claims made by the opposing party and their expert witnesses.
- They can offer specialized or professional opinions or inferences that may help jury members better understand the case’s issues.
- Their ability to concisely summarize relevant case information for both judges and juries.
In certain types of cases, you need an expert witness to address the elements of your claim. If your claim is for medical malpractice, you need an expert witness with extensive medical knowledge. In most wrongful death lawsuits, you need an expert witness to help you prove the cause of death.
What Are the Different Types of Expert Witnesses?
A variety of professionals from differing specialties, fields, and industries can qualify as expert witnesses. Here are a few of the most often used experts in personal injury cases:
Numerous medical professionals can serve as expert witnesses. Your attorney can determine which one is best for your case, depending on your particular injuries. Among these, your case may require:
- Medical doctor
- Orthopedic surgeon
- Plastic surgeon
- Another type of surgeon
- Medical technician
These medical expert witnesses can testify as to your injuries, necessary treatments, and recovery options. This is extremely important in claims of spinal cord or traumatic brain injury and any injury involving pain and suffering.
If your case involves medical malpractice, professionals can testify to the standard duty of care and how this was neglected in your case.
It also helps to work with knowledgeable attorneys in these instances. Our senior partner, Eileen Kroll, is a personal injury attorney and RN. She knows the medical terminology as well as the legal, and can easily and efficiently work with these expert witnesses to get the best outcome for your case.
Mental Health Professionals
Often there are unseen effects of a personal injury. To provide information on these mental health effects, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals may need to testify. This type of expert can be especially beneficial if a traumatic accident and injury cause the victim to suffer from PTSD.
If your injury occurred due to a motor vehicle accident, there may be questions about how it happened. One way to address this is with an accident reconstruction expert. Accident reconstructionists have extensive training in science, physics, and mathematics and can help show the jury where and how negligence occurred.
These experts can provide various information, including establishing the visibility of all drivers involved, the speed each vehicle traveled prior to the crash, and what the drivers could have done to prevent it. They can also apply traffic regulations and rules relevant to the scene to provide more information.
With specialized knowledge, engineers serve as expert witnesses in evaluating structures and physical hazards involved in the accident location. These expert witnesses are critical in slip and fall cases, motor vehicle accidents, and workplace mishaps.
In addition, engineers can testify as to the compliance with Michigan’s Construction and Safety Codes.
Manufacturing experts are essential to show how defects in manufactured products can lead to injury. This can involve automotive parts or any other defective product, including medical devices. They are typically needed in product liability cases.
Economists or other financial experts’ testimony is necessary to adequately provide information on financial losses, both in the present and in the future, as a result of the injury. Calculating the long-term economic loss of a personal injury victim is one of their specialties.
A vocational expert witness addresses your job capability level before the accident and the effect the injury has on your current working capabilities. These experts also provide information on the available jobs for someone suffering your injury and how your injuries will affect earning capacity and potential.
You will often find these expert witnesses in workers’ compensation claims and social security disability cases.
The testimony of an expert witness in your personal injury case can make the difference between reaching a highly successful outcome and having to settle for less than you deserve. Whether it is necessary for negotiations with insurance companies or to win deserved compensation in a lawsuit, a seasoned and skilled personal injury attorney knows when and where to find these experts and can provide the legal advice you need to move your claim forward.
Contact Michigan’s Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
If you or loved ones suffer from a personal injury caused by others’ negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys with Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., in Michigan. We will build your case to include expert witnesses whenever it is beneficial in order to get the compensation you need and deserve.
Give us a call at 866-MICH-LAW for a free consultation to get started. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis and never charges a fee unless we win a settlement in your case, so you can rest assured you are in capable hands and partnering with a team of experts who will fight to seek justice on your behalf.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.