Expert Witnesses in Lakewood Auto Accident Cases
An expert witness is someone who could provide trusted testimony based on their area of expertise. For example, a doctor whose specialty is occupational medicine would could be called upon to discuss how an accident corresponds to a victim’s injuries. A scientist with a strong background in forensic medicine or forensic science could provide valid testimony regarding the scene of the accident and offer an opinion about the factors that caused the accident to occur.
However, to retain the services of an expert witness for a Lakewood auto accident case, it is important to first speak with a seasoned attorney who could put you in contact with experts in an effort to strengthen the validity of your case.
How Does Someone Become an Expert Witness?
Someone who is considered an expert witness must first be approved by the judge. There are no minimum requirements of experience to become an expert witness, but they would undergo questioning by the plaintiff and the defense looking to have the expert approved by a judge. Potential expert witnesses would face questions regarding their education, background in their given field, how many years they have spent in their respective field, and the number of times they previously testified as an expert.
If the judge’s standards for expertise are satisfied, then the attorney attempting to qualify the individual as an expert will ask the judge to admit that person as an expert into the court and the judge will indicate that they are admitted as an expert in the court for testimony.
Types of Expert Witnesses Commonly Seen in Auto Accident Cases
Typically, a Lakewood car accident attorney may want to use a doctor to testify to the damages suffered by plaintiffs in a car accident. The doctor would testify as to what injuries were sustained by the plaintiff, whether those injuries were accident-related, what objective means the doctor used to arrive at the diagnosis, what the plaintiff’s future medical problems might be, and other questions in that category.
Another expert that could prove to be useful is an economist who, based on the doctor’s expert testimony, would determine how much the future medical costs would be to the claimant, for example. Police officers could also be called upon as expert witnesses. They could establish what their findings were at the scene of an accident in terms of who might be at fault, how quickly the cars were traveling, whether there were skid marks, etc.
These are just a few examples of experts that might be used by a plaintiff’s attorney in a courtroom to establish the specifics of the accident and the specifics of the damages to the plaintiff.
Are Expert Witnesses Allowed to Have an Existing Relationship with the Plaintiff?
Experts can have an existing relationship with the plaintiff under the judge’s discretion. For example, doctors tending to a victim’s injuries would develop a professional relationship in which the doctor has done an evaluation on the plaintiff through a series of examinations and the processes of supervising physical therapy.
If there is a personal relationship in the sense that the plaintiff and doctor are friends, or the doctor had provided medical treatment to the victim in the past, that is within the judge’s discretion to allow the expert’s testimony. If the judge does admit the doctor as an expert, opposing counsel might attempt to use that prior relationship to impeach the doctor’s credibility or bring the doctor’s credibility into question.
Hire an Expert with the Help of an Attorney
Upon meeting with an attorney for help with determining strategies for obtaining compensation following an accident, and attorney may suggest to add the help of an expert who could provide weighted testimony regarding a technical aspect of the accident. A lawyer could leverage their experience and vast network to put the plaintiff in touch with an expert willing to help in their pursuit of justice and compensation.
If you would like to learn more about the usage of expert witnesses in Lakewood auto accident cases, be sure to schedule a consultation with an informative attorney today.