The Role of an Expert Witness in an Injury Case
Pursuing a personal injury case is a complicated process. To be sure, there are a number of different elements of an injury case that must be satisfied in order for your case to be successful, from presenting evidence of negligence and causation to substantiating damages. One form of evidence that is critical to a favorable outcome is the testimony of an expert witness, or multiple expert witnesses. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim in Kentucky, here is a look at what you need to know about the role of expert witnesses and how our experienced lawyers effectively utilize them in the cases we try.
Most Common Types of Expert Witnesses
An expert is defined as a person who has specialized knowledge on a given topic based on extensive study, experience, or prolonged practice. In a personal injury case, the type of expert whom you may benefit from recruiting depends on the specifics of your case. Some of the most commonly called upon expert witnesses include:
- Accident reconstruction specialists. Whether you are in a car accident, hit while riding your bike, involved in a workplace accident, or harmed in some other type of accident, an accident reconstruction specialist may be invaluable. These types of experts are used to determine how an accident occurred, and more importantly, point out liability and negligence.
- Medical experts. Medical experts are critical in personal injury cases; they are used to speak to the extent of an injury you may have suffered, which is necessary for substantiating damages. But more than that, medical professionals can also speak to a deviation of the medical standard of care in the event that you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim.
- Vehicle specialists. In accidents involving vehicles, such as a large truck accident, a vehicle specialist may be called upon. This specialist can add insight regarding any vehicle defects, lack of maintenance (which may have contributed to the accident), or fault in vehicle design.
- Forensic specialists. There are numerous different types of forensic specialists. An example of one type that may be useful in a personal injury case is a forensic toxicologist. A toxicologist can contribute an opinion regarding whether or not the defendant (negligent doctor, drunk driver, etc.) had any impairing substances within their system at the time of the event.
The above list of experts is not exhaustive; there are multiple other experts who may be called on depending upon the circumstances of your case.
Two Ways of Using Experts in Your Personal Injury Case
It is important to remember that experts can be used in more than one way in a personal injury case. The most obvious way that experts are used is to provide testimony regarding how your accident occurred, liability, or the extent of damages you have suffered. These are called testifying experts, and they will be asked to give sworn testimony regarding your case.
The other type of expert is called a consulting expert. A consulting expert will be a part of your lawyer’s team and will offer insight and opinion on different elements of your case. For example, a financial expert may help you and your lawyer understand the value of your current and future losses and how much you should demand from the insurance company.
The Benefits of Expert Witnesses
Using expert witnesses can be a major help to your case, and failure to use expert witnesses can result in a less-than-ideal case outcome. This is one of the primary reasons you should work with a skilled lawyer, and a lawyer with the resources necessary to bring in the right experts to bring the case to a successful conclusion.
Importance of Witness Statements in a Car Accident Claim
Witnesses are neutral parties at the scene. They lend an objective perspective to the incident since they don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of the case. Witness statements can help in the following ways:
Proving your innocence
Witness statements can be helpful in reducing and eliminating any doubts that you were even partially responsible for the crash. Insurance companies are known to push the blame on the injured victim in an attempt to deny or devalue the claim. A witness statement can be useful in discrediting such attempts while highlighting any inconsistencies reported by the at-fault driver.
Witness statements are helpful in preserving the facts of the case. The witness may have recorded a video of the accident scene or taken photos from their viewpoint. Such information in a recorded or written statement generally makes the insurance company more likely to settle for a fair amount of compensation.
In Kentucky, the burden of proof in a car accident claim lies on the plaintiff. You and your attorney will need to prove the negligence of the other driver. Eyewitnesses may have seen the driver texting or being visibly drunk, for example. Their statement can corroborate your side of the events and help prove negligence.
Validating the injury
Witnesses can be useful in providing confirmation of the extent and scope of the injuries sustained in front of a judge and jury. Their statement may detail your behavior and actions at the crash scene. For instance, they may be able to provide an account of whether you could move and the amount of pain you were in following the crash.
Witness statements may also be useful in disproving the other driver’s claims of injury. The other driver may exaggerate or lie about being injured. The witness may discredit these injuries by saying the at-fault driver was moving around or walking normally following the crash.
Statements from eyewitnesses can help encourage out-of-court settlements. In a typical car accident, each driver has their own version of the events. However, a disinterested third-party recounting your version of the events may compel the insurance company to settle quickly and fairly.
Start Your Personal Injury Case Today
If you have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, working with a skilled Kentucky personal injury lawyer can help you secure the settlement that you need and deserve. At the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates, we have the experience that you are looking for, and we maintain relationships with experts in a variety of fields who can be called upon when needed to help prove your case and put you in position to secure full damages.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, please visit our Louisville office in person, send us a message, or call us directly at 502-895-2626. We look forward to serving you!