While a third party who witnessed a car crash can only explain what he or she saw, expert witnesses can use their extensive knowledge and experience to clarify many aspects of a case. For example, a medical expert witness could provide testimony about how an injury may affect you in the future and how it was caused by the accident.
There are many other ways an expert witness could help strengthen a personal injury case. However, it is important to discuss your situation with a licensed attorney who can determine if an expert witness may be able to help your case.
The trusted Harrisburg personal injury attorneys at Schmidt Kramer offer a free consultation to discuss the details of your claim. We have a proven track record of recovering compensation for our clients in a variety of personal injury cases. We work on contingency, which means no upfront fees for our services.
Differences Between Lay Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
Title 225 § 701 of the Pennsylvania Code says opinion testimony by a lay witness must fit three criteria. The testimony must be:
- Rationally based on witness perceptions
- Helpful for gaining a clear understanding of witness testimony or to determine a fact
- Based on the witness’ perception and not scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge that fits under § 702
Title 225 § 702 says expert witnesses may testify if their scientific, technical or specialized knowledge is beyond what a normal person possesses, helps the trier of fact to understand the evidence or determine a fact and the methodology used by the expert is generally accepted in a relevant field.
Benefits of Expert Witness Testimony as Opposed to Lay Witness Testimony
Lay witnesses may be people who have some connection to the victim, for example, they may be friends or family members. However, an expert witness has no connection to the victim, which helps prevent the other side from arguing the expert is biased in your favor.
Some aspect of a case can be difficult to understand because they are too technical, or the evidence is not very clear-cut. This is often why expert witnesses are brought in.
What Types of Expert Witnesses are There?
Here are some common examples of the kinds of expert witnesses who may be brought in to strengthen a personal injury claim:
They are often brought in to explain the victim’s injury, how it is being treated and the likely long-term prognosis. This can be particularly helpful when your attorney is trying to establish the cost of long-term medical care or how the accident caused the injury.
At Schmidt Kramer, we are dedicated to pursuing maximum compensation for personal injury victims. Economic experts may be able to help determine an accurate value of your loss of earning capacity based on your work experience, skills, education and other factors.
These people may be brought in to explain why a victim cannot do the same he or she did before the injury and detail how the victim’s earning capacity has been negatively affected.
Accident Reconstruction Experts
While fault for some car crashes is relatively easy to assess, there are some accidents where this is harder to do. They can use their expertise to show how a crash happened and pinpoint the cause.
Mental Health Experts
Injuries can have a significant effect on someone’s mental health, causing depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping and other emotional issues. However, it can be difficult to place a value on these damages, which is why expert testimony may be helpful.
Sometimes an accident is caused by how a road was constructed or how a building was built. Engineers may be able to analyze the situation and clarify the connection between the construction of the road or building and the accident.
In a product liability case, the victim must prove the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous. This often requires technical knowledge of how a product works and the risks it may pose to consumers.
Do Experts Need to Testify?
The truth is: you may not need an expert witness to provide testimony at a trial. He or she may just consult with your attorney as your attorney builds your case. The expert can help give your attorney a better understanding of an issue relevant to your claim, such as the severity of your injury or how an accident occurred. In some cases, it may be necessary to have an expert testify at trial.
Most cases are resolved before getting to trial. However, even in a case like that, an expert witness may go through a deposition.
Have Questions About Your Claim? Give Us a Call for Help
We know injury victims have many questions about the legal process. We have been assisting injury victims in Harrisburg and throughout the state of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years.
There is no risk to you in contacting us because the initial consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire our firm. If we find you have a valid case, you decide if you would like to move forward.
If you hire our firm, we will be committed to the pursuit of full compensation for your injuries and damages. While many cases end in a settlement with the insurance company, we are also ready to go to trial if necessary.
Call Today to See How We May be Able to Help. (717) 888-8888