Expert testimony can make or break an auto accident case. Experts are not always required in car accident lawsuits. However, experts are helpful in complex cases, those involving multiple parties, and/or when liability is not clear. As a car accident lawyer I use experts who help jurors understand the impact of injuries on accident victims and their families.
Expert witnesses analyze complicated issues, draw conclusions, and explain their opinions to jurors. Their overall goal is to clarify how their knowledge proves the victim’s claims, regardless of the defendant’s arguments. Therefore, the right expert can help convince a jury to award maximum compensation to an injured accident victim.
Selecting an Expert in a Car Accident Case
There are various types of witnesses a car accident attorney may use. Some experts help prove the cause of the accident. Others will testify about the extent of a victim’s injuries. The most common types of experts used in a car accident case are:
- Accident reconstruction specialists: These experts use physical, testimonial and other evidence to reconstruct what exactly happened. They assess vehicle speed; force of the crash; visibility of vehicles; topography; and other details about the auto accident. Sophisticated computer software is often used to create an animated version of the accident.
- Engineering professionals: If a vehicle or roadway defect contributed to injuries, an engineer can testify about design flaws. Bio-mechanical engineers can also explain the correlation between how the accident happened and the injuries incurred.
- Medical experts: In a personal injury case, the victim’s treating doctor becomes the medical expert. The doctor will explain the seriousness of injuries, and the pain and suffering associated with those injuries. Medical experts also provide details on treatments the victim will need in the future. Victims should be compensated for current and future medical costs.
- Rehabilitation specialists and Life Care Planners: Physical and occupational therapists testify about continued limitations the victim may experience from accident injuries. They, along with vocational experts, also provide details on the type of rehabilitation the victim will be need, the cost of the care required, and the impact on the victims future earnings capacity.
- Economists: Economists provide an analysis of the financial losses to the victim as a result of auto accident injuries. These include lost earnings, benefits, and future lost earnings.
The Importance of Expert Testimony in a Car Accident Case
Expert testimony can be expensive, so some victims question if it is worth the cost. Juries often see testimony from family or friends as biased, but generally give expert testimony more weight given to it. California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 219 explains it is up to the jury to decide whether or not to believe the expert testimony. It instructs jurors to consider the expert’s training and experience; the facts the expert relied on; and the reason for the expert’s opinion, when determining whether to believe all, part, or none of the expert’s testimony.
This is where having a quality expert witness comes into play. Defense counsel often refers to expert witnesses as “hired guns.” Since experts are expensive, the defense may try to convince a jury that experts are being paid to offer a biased opinion. It is therefore in the Plaintiff’s best interest to use experts with solid reputations, and who have testified for both the plaintiffs and defendants. Attacking such witnesses on cross examination becomes much more difficult if it can be shown they are not beholden to one side vs the other.
Getting Help from a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
It is important when putting together a claim for compensation to identify the experts who can make the strongest case.
As a car accident lawyer with over 30 years experience, I have a vast network of expert witnesses that can provide valuable testimony in car accident cases. Because your injuries are personal to me, I handle all aspects of your claim. I will select the right experts and make sure they are prepared to offer testimony that can help a jury award you maximum compensation.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Learn how an experienced Long Beach car accident lawyer can help if you’ve suffered a car accident injury.
You will be under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover compensation for your losses.
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