The Importance of Expert Testimony During an Injury Trial

Published on Jul 11, 2019 at 2:53 pm in Personal Injury.

Looking down on courthouse steps

The outcome of an injury trial can be linked to how well the facts and evidence were presented in a way that the case could be understood by the judge or jury. In order to successfully present a case, personal injury lawyers will often call upon expert witnesses. Expert testimony is incredibly valuable and can contribute to a successful outcome for a plaintiff.

Your attorney may call on an expert witness before or during your trial. Prior to a trial, expert testimony has the potential to persuade the opposing party to agree to a settlement. If the case does proceed to trial, the expert witness can offer insight, facts, and opinions to inform the judge and jury about issues that might not be common knowledge.

Who Can Provide Expert Testimony?

Unlike an eye witness, an expert witness was not present at the time of the accident. Instead, an expert witness is someone who has expertise in a certain area. This expertise may come from their education, training, or experience. Your personal injury lawyer will call on expert witnesses to protect your rights and secure the most ideal settlement for your case.

Your lawyer will determine whether or not a person is qualified to be an expert witness. Some factors that are typically considered include credentials, professional and educational experienced, publications in peer-reviewed journals, reputation, and prior expert testimony experience.

Depending on the unique circumstances of an injury trial, expert testimony could be provided by one or more of the following:

  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Accident Reconstructionists
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Medical Examiners
  • Appraisers
  • Economists
  • Toxicologists
  • Ballistic Experts
  • Vocational Experts
  • Forensic Evidence Specialists

How Are Expert Witnesses Selected?

Your lawyer will carefully vet and choose who will give expert testimony on your behalf. In order to do so, they will start their search early. Finding the right expert takes time. The earlier one is located, the more help the person will be. When choosing the expert, your lawyer will ensure they understand the expert’s qualifications and how their experiences makes them a good fit for your case. They may also request reports, transcripts, and publications to verify the expert understands the matters pertaining to your case.

Meeting the expert in person is also crucial. Their demeanor and appearance are important. If they appear nervous, shy, or arrogant, the may come off as less reliable to the judge or jury. The witness providing expert testimony should be confident and professional. They should also be able to answer difficult questions without stumbling and present information clearly.

How Can Expert Testimony Strengthen a Personal Injury Case?

During an injury trial, an expert witness is allowed to offer opinions if their opinions are based on facts or data, their specialized knowledge will help a judge or jury understand the evidence, their methods of generating opinions are reliable, or their methods can be reliably applied to the evidence or facts of the case.

Expert testimony has the ability to strengthen your injury trial by:

  • Remaining Impartial. When a plaintiff or their family members testify about a personal injury lawsuit, the judge or jury recognizes that it could be skewed in one direction. With an expert witness, however, they do not have a stake in the outcome. As a result, their testimony is viewed as more objective and may be more accepted as fact.  
  • Clarifying Evidence. In the event of a complex case that involves medical malpractice, for example, an expert witness can maximize your chances of recovery by ensuring the judge or jury understand the facts of your case by clearing up any ambiguities.
  • Proving Negligence. It can be difficult to determine negligence, especially when having to prove the defendant had and breached a specific duty. With expert testimony, however, the witness can clarify this matter and discuss how the defendant should have acted.
  • Increasing Compensation. When a judge or jury fully understand the effects an accident had on the plaintiff because of expert testimony, there’s a higher chance that all losses will be taken into consideration and you’ll walk away with full and fair compensation.

If you were wrongfully injured in an accident and are considering taking legal action against the negligent party, Prince Law Firm can help. While many personal injury claims resolve prior to trial, it’s not unheard of for one to be presented in front of a judge and jury. If your claim goes to trial, we’ll work with expert witnesses to ensure your case is presented as accurately as possible. To learn more about your legal rights and options in Illinois, schedule a free case evaluation with us today.



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