What Is An Expert Witness And Why Are They Beneficial To My Personal Injury Claim?

Written By: Attorney Elecia Byrd

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In a personal injury case, the injured party and/or the insurance company often hire experts. Known as expert witnesses, these individuals add value to a personal injury claim or case by testifying on behalf of the injured party and providing their expert opinion regarding the issues in the case.

If you have been injured in an automobile or trucking accident, dog attack, slip and fall, or another type of accident, Zinda Law Group may help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries. We commonly hire expert witnesses to strengthen our clients' claims. To learn more about how our experienced attorneys may help with your case, call us at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation. You will never owe us anything unless we win your case. That's our No Fee Guarantee.

Expert Witness Testimonies

Since juries hold expert testimony in high regard, the federal rules limit expert witness testimony as follows:

“A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

  • The expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
  • The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
  • The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
  • The expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.”

According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 702, in a personal injury case, expert witnesses are hired to provide their opinions on:

  • Liability – Who is responsible for the incident?
  • Damages –Did the incident cause the injured person’s damages? Damages can include past & future medical expenses, past & future lost wages and non-economic damages.

This article will discuss the different types of expert witnesses used in personal injury cases.

Liability Experts

Liability expert witnesses provide opinions regarding who is responsible for the injury-producing incident.

Accident Reconstruction Expert

An accident reconstruction expert is often hired at the beginning of a personal injury case. Accident reconstruction experts often have expertise in the engineering field, and typically go to the scene of the collision and take measurements, pictures, and 3D scans. They also conduct inspections and download of the vehicles involved in a motor vehicle collision, inspect the electronic control module, and conduct crash recreations.

Typical cases that involve an Accident Reconstruction Expert include car wrecks, trucking collisions, wrongful death cases, disputed liability cases, 18-wheeler wrecks, company vehicle car wrecks, and commercial motor vehicle collisions.

DOT/ Trucking Expert

A DOT or trucking expert has a vast amount of experience in the trucking industry. These experts typically hold commercial driver’s licenses and have a superior understanding of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSR”) and the rules of the road. These experts provide opinions on how the at-fault party deviated from the applicable industry standard and/or the FMCSR.

Typical cases that involve a DOT/Trucking Expert Include 18-wheeler wrecks, trucking collisions, wrongful death cases, disputed liability cases, drunk driving collisions, company vehicle car crashes, and commercial vehicle crashes.

OSHA Safety Expert

In cases where an injury occurs at a worksite, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) standards are likely to apply. A workplace OSHA safety expert is valuable to determine what standards were not adhered to and how that contributed to the injured person’s damages.

Typical cases that involve an OSHA Safety Expert include workplace injury, wrongful death, workers compensation, injured on the job, and OSHA investigations.

Cell Phone Forensics Expert

If cell phone usage may have caused or contributed to a crash, a cell phone forensics expert is useful. These experts will inspect and download the parties’ cell phones to determine if the phone was powered on, what applications were in use, and any incoming and outgoing communications.

Typical cases that involve Cell Phone Forensics Expert include car wrecks, trucking collisions, distracted driving, 18-wheeler car wrecks, commercial motor vehicle collision, wrongful death, school bus collisions, auto-pedestrian collisions.

Damages Experts

Damages experts are professionals who are hired to review the facts in a personal injury claim and provide their professional opinion about a particular area of the damages pled for by the injured individual. In a personal injury case, an injured party may be entitled to recovery for past & future medical expenses, past & future lost wages, past & future pain and suffering, past & future mental anguish, past & future physical impairment, and past & future disfigurement. The  most common damages experts in personal injury cases include:

Life Care Planner

In personal injury cases, injured individuals may be entitled to compensation for future medical needs. A life care plan expert projects future costs for the injured individual. Life care planners use recommendations provided by physicians to determine the cost of an individual’s care in the future.

Vocational Expert

A vocational expert is one who provides opinions on the injured individual’s earning capacity. In personal injury cases where the injured person is unable to return to work or unable to work the same job, a vocational expert can provide guidance on the economic impact this will have over the course of the individual’s life. These experts typically review medical records, conduct vocational interviews, along with vocational testing in order to formulate opinions to include in an expert report. 

Prosthetic Expert

In personal injury cases where an amputation has occurred, a prosthetic expert may be consulted to provide his expert opinion on the prosthetic needs of the amputee. A prosthetic expert is also called an orthotics and prosthesis expert. These are professionals who design medical supportive devices and fit patients for prosthetic limbs. 

Forensic Psychologist

As mentioned above, a personal injury victim may present a claim for non-economic damages such as past and future mental anguish and past and future pain and suffering. A forensic psychologist may consult by providing a psychological evaluation of the injured person and then authoring a report with their expert opinions. This report could detail a diagnosis, future recommendations, and even quantify the costs of any future counseling needs.

TRUST THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP

At Zinda Law Group, our experienced personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.

Our firm believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.

If you have been injured in an accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our attorneys.

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