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What Are Expert Witnesses & What Role Do They Play in Personal Injury Cases?

Learn why these types of witnesses can be instrumental in winning your personal injury case

In a Tennessee personal injury case, it's vital that all the details of the events that led to your injuries are made available to the judge and jury at trial. However, sometimes the best testimonies don't come from those who were actually present at the scene of the injury.

Instead, “expert witnesses” who weren't present during the alleged events but who have the expertise and knowledge to help your legal counsel, can be the best option for making your case.

Here's what you need to know about expert witnesses.

What are expert witnesses?

When we think of witnesses at a jury trial, we often think of the people who were on the scene and witnessed the alleged crime or incident. However, expert witnesses usually weren’t present for the incident in question. Rather, they have a knowledge base that allows them to give professional and informed insight into an aspect of the case.

Types of expert witnesses

Theoretically, an expert witness could be anyone who is knowledgeable, licensed or certified in just about any profession, subject or discipline.

Most commonly, expert witnesses are medical or mental health professionals who are asked to provide their view on the alleged incident based on their expertise. This is especially relevant in personal injury cases where the plaintiff is trying to prove that the negligence of the defendant caused them bodily or psychological harm.

However, the plaintiff isn't the only party who might try to argue physical or psychological impairment. The defense may also attempt to utilize these sorts of expert witnesses to demonstrate why the accused party wasn't in control of their actions or why they are unable to be held accountable for their alleged negligence.

Outside of medical professionals, forensics experts and financial professionals may also be called upon as expert witnesses in a trial.

Example of expert witnesses

To better understand this concept, let's think about a hypothetical case that will help us to contextualize the important role an expert witness may play during a trial.

Let's say that Mary was working for John in John's restaurant. While working in the kitchen, Mary slips on a pool of grease and hits her head. John alleges that Mary was the one who spilled the grease, while Mary swears that the hazardous working conditions were a result of John's ongoing negligence in keeping his restaurant up to code.

The attorney for the plaintiff—in this case, Mary—might call Mary's coworkers to testify, especially if they also agree that the accident was the result of John's pattern of negligence.

However, in addition to these eyewitnesses, Mary's attorneys could call in a medical expert who can testify that Mary's injuries match her story of what happened at the time of the accident. They may also call to the stand a mental health professional to discuss the mental health ramifications of such an accident. Finally, the attorney could call a financial professional who could give insight into how Mary's finances will suffer due to her inability to work.

However, John's lawyer could call in his own expert witnesses. John's attorney could call a health and safety inspector to make the argument that John's restaurant routinely passed inspection. They could also call a psychologist to testify that the allegations have damaged John's mental health.

Will your case require expert witnesses?

Whether or not you should utilize expert witnesses to make your case is a decision that you and your attorney will make as you prepare arguments and strategies for ensuring that you receive the justice you deserve.

In some cases, expert witnesses may not be necessary if the testimony of those present or the evidence presented is compelling enough to make your case. In other situations, expert witnesses may be called in order to further cement your attorney's argument and ensure that all of the facts are brought to light.

If you believe that you've suffered an injury due to the negligence of another party, you deserve a team of legal professionals who will fight for your rights. For more information, contact Gilreath & Associates today to schedule a free consultation and learn about how you can obtain justice and compensation in your case.

 

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