Expert Testimony: What Is It, and How Does It Help?
Expert testimony can be an extremely valuable tool in several types of lawsuits, particularly those involving personal injury. Let’s look at the most common types of expert witnesses and some ways that they can strengthen your case.
– Consulting witnesses and testifying experts
Consulting experts generally provide information about facts in a lawsuit. This is helpful while building a case, but a testifying expert is likely more useful. This person will provide expert testimony under oath in court.
– Help explaining technical language and jargon
One of the most valuable functions of an expert witnesses’ testimony is their ability to explain complex technical language and industry jargon. This is especially helpful when dealing with medical terminology in a personal injury or class action lawsuit. If a doctor’s report is used as evidence, they can walk through their conclusion and explain in layman’s terms what a phrase or diagnosis means. In the case of injury or disease caused by negligence, medical lingo can become very complicated very quickly. An expert can easily break it down.
– Provide an unbiased opinion
Expert witnesses take their duty to their profession very seriously. They know that they put their credibility on the line when they swear in and provide testimony under oath. It is not only illegal to provide false testimony, but it is also unethical and against their best interests to provide biased testimony. They must objectively evaluate the information with which they have been presented and answer questions from both the prosecution and defense in such a way that shows their allegiance only to the truth and the facts that they see before them. Expert witnesses understand that they must be able to speak with authority in front of a jury and work to help explain facts to all involved.
– Provide a report that could lead to a settlement
Expert witness testimony can also perform a crucial service that can keep you out of the courtroom to begin with! Generally, the expert will provide a sworn written statement when they are hired by the representation of the victim. When the plaintiff’s defense receives this statement, the very fact that they know opposing counsel has retained an expert witness may compel them to settle. In this subtle way, expert testimony can work as leverage to put a halt to legal proceedings.
An expert witness can provide testimony that will clarify your lawsuit to the jury, and explain the long-term effects of an injury or disease, making your personal injury case much stronger.