Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer

A Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer Explains the Role of Expert Witnesses

Personal injury cases rely heavily on witness testimony, whether from a commercial truck accident or a fall in an icy parking lot. All types of witnesses can impact your case: bystanders who saw a car collision, coworkers who can explain business practices or friends who observed your recovery.

As any Missouri personal injury lawyer knows, a different type of witness can also strongly influence the outcome of a lawsuit: expert witnesses. Unlike lay witnesses, expert witnesses are authorities in their field and may receive substantial payment for their testimony.

In this post, an experienced accident attorney in Missouri discusses the role of expert witnesses in personal injury cases, including:

  • What an expert witness is
  • What an expert witness does 
  • Potential issues involving expert witnesses

What Is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses have extensive experience and qualifications in a specific field that applies to your case. They may provide information about common industry practices (such as construction compliance) or professional opinions on the legal case at hand (such as the victim’s mental health). 

While expert witnesses come from various backgrounds, Missouri injury lawyers frequently see the following types:

  • Medical practitioners: Doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals can testify about your diagnoses, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis. 
  • Accident reconstructionists: These professionals analyze an accident to determine how it happened and who caused it.
  • Safety consultants: Engineers and occupational safety professionals can discuss design failures or workplace practices that may have contributed to an accident. 
  • Financial professionals: Accountants and economists can testify to a case’s financial aspects, including lost future earnings and the value of assets.
  • Forensic analysts: Forensic analysts can discuss matters such as breathalyzer tests and toxicology reports in criminal and civil cases.  

What Do Expert Witnesses Do?

Expert witnesses can help strengthen your case in several ways. Your personal injury attorney in Missouri may hire one to do the following:

  • Clarify complex matters: Medical tests, engineering standards, and business structures are often technical and confusing. An expert witness can explain them in a way the jury can understand.
  • Establish negligence: Expert witnesses can help prove liability by showing how someone’s behavior caused an accident or injury.
  • Provide credibility: An expert witness with an impressive background can help support your claims and persuade the jury.
  • Assess damages: Industry consultants can accurately calculate your physical, emotional, and financial losses to help you seek fair compensation.
  • Challenge claims: While expert witnesses can help strengthen your claims, they can challenge the other side’s claims. 

Are There Any Downsides to Expert Witnesses?

Expert witnesses offer numerous benefits in personal injury cases. However, your personal injury lawyer in Missouri will also weigh the following challenges of working with expert witnesses:  

  • Cost: Depending on their experience and the case’s complexity, expert witnesses can charge hefty sums for their testimony, adding to the cost of litigation.
  • Credibility: The other side’s attorneys will investigate and question the witness, attempting to challenge their credibility. If they are successful, this could negatively affect your case. 
  • Bias: Because expert witnesses receive payment from one party, jurors may doubt their objectivity. 
  • Communication: People with advanced knowledge in their field aren’t always skilled at expressing technical concepts to laypeople. Your Missouri personal injury lawyer can provide coaching to improve the witness’s communication on the stand.

Remember, if your attorney decides to hire an expert witness, they think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Today

Need help preparing for your car accident, work injury, or wrongful death case? Call Roach Law Car Accident Lawyers, at (636) 238-5848 for a free consultation with a Missouri personal injury lawyer.