Personal injury cases rely on evidence and information provided by experts from various fields to support the victim’s claim. When an injury arises, you meet with an attorney who examines the physical evidence. Then, your attorney determines what experts are needed to clarify that information or make the evidence collected even more persuasive to the jury.
Experts offer testimony that is more trustworthy than the average person, and the courts rarely will take the word of just the defendant or victim. Therefore, regardless of the type of case, you will have at least one expert there to testify to injuries, medical conditions, prognosis, or even the outlook for the victim’s future.
In a personal injury case, a witness is there to offer clarify on any contested issues. While they can be called in to help your case, they could also be called by the defense to disprove your injuries. Typically, injury cases will have expert witnesses called by each side – and it often comes down to which expert provides the most compelling evidence – swaying the jury to favor one side over the other.
Your expert witness must have technical knowledge on a specific area; therefore, they have the training, education, and hands-on experience to testify about your injuries or the accident itself.
Depending on the amount of compensation requested in a lawsuit, there could be one or multiple experts called in to testify. Your attorney will review your case and determine which experts can best help to put evidence into perspective for the jurors. Typically, the higher the settlement value you are seeking, the more experts you may need to testify to justify your compensation requests.
A reconstruction specialist is a consultant who provides collision analysis, reconstructs the accident for the judge and jury, and can even show injury reconstruction. They help paint a picture of what really happened on the day of the accident, and show jurors how the plaintiff could have sustained the injuries they claim.
A reconstructionist may also provide a collision speed and vehicle safety report. They may testify about the estimated acceleration, who had the right-of-way, and any braking or steering angles that would have influenced how the accident – and your injuries – happened. These specialists may testify for the plaintiff, defendant, or each side may bring in their specialists to contradict one another.
Maintenance specialists are often seen when there is an accident involving a commercial vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler. These specialists can show how the trucking company did not perform maintenance as required by state and federal law, or show that annual maintenance was not done in accordance with the company’s logs.
Trucking companies are required to keep their vehicles safe, and they also must keep maintenance records on hand to prove that they perform the necessary maintenance. Sadly, not all trucking companies do this, which is why you may need a specialist to prove that the company failed to provide their duty of care.
A Department of Transportation (DoT) regulation specialist reviews products and ensures that they are safe before they are sold on the consumer market. They will testify about any opinions on the safety of a product and whether the DoT regulations were met before that product was sold.
A first responder, such as an EMT, police officer, or firefighter can testify about the accident and what they witnessed personally. These first responders have knowledge about accidents, and they can provide insight that the average bystander cannot. For example, they can testify to the injuries, state of the scene, and the medical treatment provided to the plaintiff at the time of the accident.
A phone record expert is a person who would be called in to provide evidence that the defendant was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the accident. They would demonstrate whether the phone records establish the driver was on the phone.
One of the most important witnesses in a personal injury case is a medical professional. Your doctor, such as your family care physician or specialist who’s treating you, will testify about your current injuries, expected recovery, treatments received, and the estimated amount of pain you have suffered.
The doctor can clarify any misunderstandings or questions about the plaintiff’s injuries. The defense may also produce a doctor to attempt to contradict the plaintiff’s experts, and try to disprove the severity or existence of any injuries.
A forensic toxicologist is a person that helps discuss poisoning, medical error, and drug interaction deaths. They provide evidence involving injuries caused by recreational or prescription drugs – and may be called to prove that a defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
In the event the plaintiff has a brain injury, a neurologist will come in and discuss that injury, including any related damage to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and so forth. They may discuss the severity and prognosis of the injury, a treatment plan, and any other pertinent information in the case.
When claims of future medical costs or loss of earning capacity are made in a personal injury case, each side may call in a financial expert. This party is there to testify about these claims, analyze future earnings, bonuses, raises, as well as cost of living raises. This all helps to establish and justify a victim’s demand for lost earning capacity.
They may also estimate future medical costs, inflation, and how much a victim could reasonably justify for compensation.
In the event there is a wrongful death, the medical examiner would come into the court and testify about the cause of death to help determine responsibility. They provide an objective opinion about the victim’s condition at the time of the death, and whether the accident or negligence contributed to that death.
Most injury cases will involve claims for pain and suffering, with some victims suffering chronic pain. A pain management specialist can testify about the pain the victim has suffered – and help put damages in perspective for the jurors. They can discuss treatments, the reality of day-to-day living with pain, and future treatments that will be needed to help the victim recover.
When there are long-term injuries or a person is permanently disabled, a life care planner comes in to discuss the earning capacity, life expectancy, and how the injury affects the victim long-term. They are there to discuss disability management, how much the victim’s injuries affect their ability to work, and help prove the claims for future damages.
An orthopedic surgeon provides testimony on orthopedic injuries, including disability and prognosis. They may provide their opinion on surgery, replacements, spinal cord injury, and any other issues related to the victim’s musculoskeletal system.
A vocational specialist will testify about the work the victim has done over the past 10 to 15 years, the types of work the victim can now do with their injuries. This testimony is important when the victim is claiming future diminished earning capacity.
Any rehabilitation that the victim has completed will be testified to by the rehabilitation specialist. This person works with the injured to help them improve or restore their ability to work and thrive. They may help victims with permanent disabilities, such as those with spinal cord injuries or amputations. They provide services and can testify about the victim’s future rehabilitation needs and the costs of any rehabilitation treatments prescribed.
When there is a commercial vehicle involved, an electronic control module or event data recorder is used to help demonstrate what the vehicle was doing right before the accident. Some passenger vehicles now contain these devices as well; therefore, the expert may testify as to any braking or movements the vehicle made prior to the incident.
An ECM/EDR expert must interpret the data provided to them, and they will share their opinion about the circumstances of the accident. They may work with an accident recreationist to explore what might have caused the accident and what each vehicle did just before the collision.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact an attorney who is ready to fight for your right to compensation. An attorney can secure the experts you need to justify your case and increase the chances you will succeed with a lawsuit.
The attorneys at Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC can help decide if you need an expert witness and protect your best interests.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.