What Types of Experts Are Used in Personal Injury Cases?
Personal injury law is a unique field that often hinges on the explanations and information provided by experts in many fields. If you get injured in an accident, a professional may be the only one who can support your claim that your injury was, in fact, caused by negligent activity.
More than one authority may be called to provide testimony in a case, and the defendant may also bring specialists to refute the plaintiff’s claim. The experts called as witnesses have a high degree of skill in their fields. They have the understanding and practical experience to deliver reliable information regarding their specialties, which can range from the medical field to accountants and experienced criminologists.
Here are some of the kinds of professionals that may be called as witnesses in a personal injury case:
Medical professionals. Physicians are often called in personal injury cases, because they have a deep understanding of injuries and what might have caused them. They can outline a plaintiff’s diagnosis and prognosis to support an accident case. The physicians who serve as expert witnesses may not be a plaintiff’s doctor, but an independent practitioner who specializes in a particular type of injury.
In addition to general personal injury law, a medical specialist may also be called to testify in medical malpractice cases. The expert may provide information to show that the defendant would not have made the same mistake if he or she had been following a reasonable standard of medical care.
Economic/financial experts. In personal injury cases, a plaintiff’s claim will include a request for fair compensation. The numbers chosen are not arbitrary. They must be carefully calculated based on an individual’s physical injury, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, among other considerations. Financial authorities often provide testimony to clarify how an injury will economically impact a plaintiff’s life in the immediate future and over the long term.
Accident reconstruction specialists. Some professionals dedicate their lives to accidents and help law enforcement agencies and other investigators reconstruct accidents. You may remember the recent charges against Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner in a rear-ending accident in California.
An accident reconstruction specialist’s visual account helped the jury understand the facts of the case so they could prove Ms. Jenner was not liable. In a similar way, a plaintiff may use the reconstruction provided by a specialist to prove a defendant’s error did cause an accident and subsequent injuries.
Specialized experts. Anyone who has a particular skill set may be called to court as an expert witness. Many personal injury cases arise from product defects. Manufacturers, engineers, or design specialists could all be called upon in a personal injury case. As long as an individual has proven expertise in an area, he or she may be used as a witness.
Some specialists are called to testify, but many are not. Some may act as consultants and help a plaintiff put together the appropriate real and circumstantial evidence needed to prove a defendant acted negligently. Consulting experts play more of a research and advisory role, whereas testifying experts are called to provide independent and objective information that can be used by a plaintiff or a defendant to prove a point.
Expert witnesses may play an important role in helping your attorney understand and recreate the actions that caused injury. They can also be invaluable if you have to go to court. At Liljegren Law Group, we have access to a range of consulting and testifying authorities who have the specialized understanding needed to prove a personal injury claim. For more information or a case evaluation, reach out to us today.