Importance of an Expert Witness - Haygood Cleveland Pierce Thompson & Short

The Role of an Expert in an Injury Case

When someone is injured because of the negligence or reckless actions of another party, they have a right to be compensated. However, it is not always easy for injured parties to recover full and fair compensation. It is very rare that someone freely admits fault and writes a check to cover all your losses. In fact, most of the time, the injured party does not even deal directly with the responsible party. Instead, they must seek compensation from their insurer.

This is usually a lengthy process that involves a series of back-and-forth negotiations. And if the insurance company does not negotiate in good faith, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. This is one of many reasons it is a good idea to have a skilled personal injury attorney represent you during this process. Attorneys with in-depth knowledge in this area of the law have years of experience putting together a winning case.

There are many critical factors that can decide the outcome of a case and how much the injured party will recover. This includes gathering all the key facts and evidence (such as accident reports, medical records, photographs and video footage of the scene, etc.), obtaining statements from eyewitnesses, and enlisting the testimony of expert witnesses. An expert witness can often play an important role during a personal injury case.

What is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses are not to be confused with eyewitnesses. An eyewitness is any individual that might have seen what happened. An expert witness almost never actually witnessed the event. Their value lies in their ability to lend their expertise to various facts and pieces of evidence in the case and provide a perspective that helps clarify the importance of this information and what it means to the case.

Expert witnesses are professionals with extensive experience who have achieved a high level of education, skill, knowledge, and training in their chosen field. They are reputable individuals who are held to the highest ethical standards. This gives them the credibility to speak authoritatively about the subject matter in which they have expertise.

There are many professionals who could potentially serve as expert witnesses in an injury case. These include:

The Role of an Expert in Injury Cases

Expert witnesses are used primarily in two ways:

  • A consulting expert is someone who works behind the scenes to consult with the legal team and provide essential support. They can review various facts and pieces of evidence, explain their importance, and assist the team with their legal strategy. Unless they are later converted to a testifying expert, the other side may never know that they were consulted.
  • A testifying expert is someone who is chosen by the legal team to testify in court. Testifying experts must be disclosed to the other side. For this reason, it is important to choose someone with strong communication skills, courtroom experience, and the demonstrated ability to make complex information understandable for the average person. Oftentimes, the presence of testifying experts with a proven track record may be enough to compel the other side to negotiate a settlement rather than going through with a trial that is likely to cost them a lot more.

The Importance of Expert Witnesses in Alabama Injury Cases

Personal injury cases can be difficult to win in Alabama because of the state’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under this doctrine, if an injured party is found to be even 1% at-fault for the event that caused the injury, they can be barred from recovering damages. Insurance companies and other defendants frequently try to take advantage of this high standard by trying to assign at least part of the blame to an injured party. Because of the ability for expert witnesses to clarify the facts and evidence, they can often make the difference between the success or failure of a case.

If you or someone close to you has suffered a personal injury in Alabama, be sure to work with an attorney who has a successful track record with these types of cases, and who is not afraid to call in an expert witness when needed to help ensure that you are in the best possible position to obtain a favorable outcome. Contact the experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at (334) 821-3892 or through our website contact form.

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