Expert Testimony in Personal Injury Case - McPhillips Shinbaum

How Important Are Expert Witnesses in Alabama Personal Injury Cases?

In personal injury cases, the injured party has the burden of proof. This means that a victim in an accident must show that they’ve suffered damages because of someone else’s negligence. That other party is called the defendant in a personal injury case. Even if you have clear testimony, solid proof, and witnesses, you may still need additional evidence to make your case. This is often where the testimony of an expert witness can help.

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is a person that has specialized knowledge in a particular field that qualifies as being beyond the knowledge of the average person. Expert witnesses can provide testimony in both criminal and civil cases and their testimony may be used to either prove or disprove a claim. Expert witnesses are not the same as fact witnesses or an accident eyewitness.

A fact witness provides testimony that doesn’t involve expertise or require any special training. They simply tell the court what they heard or saw with respect to the case. Expert witnesses, on the other hand, can provide their opinion on certain issues in a lawsuit. The expert must be qualified as an expert in their field before they can give admissible opinions in a case.

Types of Expert Witnesses for Personal Injury Cases

Many types of expert witnesses might be used in a personal injury case. There are two classifications of expert witnesses: consulting experts and testifying experts. A consulting expert might help explain key facts and issues involved in a case to a legal team, but they won’t actually testify in court. A testifying expert is someone who will provide sworn testimony in court to either prove or disprove a legal point.

The specific types of experts called in to help with personal injury cases include:

  • Physicians and other medical experts
  • Psychiatry and mental health
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Technical Fields
  • Vocational Training
  • Toxicology
  • Forensics
  • Economics
  • Other specialized areas

 The Role of an Expert Witness in a Personal Injury Case

When pursuing just compensation in a personal injury case, the defendant will often claim that they were not to blame for the accident or the resulting injuries. In these cases, expert witnesses can testify and explain how an accident occurred as well as the ways that the plaintiff’s injuries and damages were caused by the accident. Expert testimony is often used to help attorneys address both the issue of liability as well as the full extent of damages.

  • Expert testimony to address liability– Whether the case is an auto accident, or products liability claim, the factors leading up to and causing an accident can sometimes be complicated. Expert witnesses can play a critical role in demonstrating and explaining how an accident was caused through recreation and explanations of complicated factors in laymen’s terms.
  • Expert testimony to address damages– When the issue of the scope of injury is in question, expert witnesses can address this for the courts as well. Medical professionals can speak to the nature and extent of injuries as well as the degree of future care necessary. Vocational experts can give opinions about the ability of the plaintiff to earn a living or their need for retraining services.

Choosing the Best Expert Witness for Your Personal Injury Case

Expert witnesses are so important to some personal injury cases that they can make the difference in a judge’s or jury’s decision for or against a plaintiff. For this reason alone, it’s important to choose the best expert witness for your case. Expert witnesses must have no conflicts of interest in the cases that they work on, nor should they have anything in their past that can be used to discredit them. Witnesses may be asked unexpected questions by the other party, so they should be personable and able to think quickly on their feet.

Your experienced Alabama personal injury attorney from McPhillips Shinbaum will make sure that you have expert witnesses with impeccable credentials as well as those that are ready to provide qualified and credible testimony in front of a judge or jury.

Contact the Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum

If you have a personal injury or wrongful death case of any kind, the experienced attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP understand what it takes to protect your rights and will work hard to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (334) 262-1911 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.