You’ve just experienced a traumatic car accident that has worsened your pre-existing injury. The at-fault driver, in your opinion, was clearly in the wrong, and you’re convinced you’re owed damages.
But the defense argues that the accident could not have possibly made your pre-existing injury worse: Although you may feel more pain, the defense claims there’s no visible evidence to support it and that any claims of increased pain are negligible at best.
How could your prosecuting attorney prove to the court that this accident has indeed worsened your pre-existing injury? Enter the expert witness.
Table of Contents
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is a career professional the prosecution, defense, and sometimes the court itself may call forward to provide an unbiased, expert opinion on a controversial subject.
Expert witnesses commonly seen in car accident cases include:
- Medical experts,to clarify physical injuries
- Financial professionals, to calculate lost wages and financial damage
- Forensic experts, to clarify forensic evidence
- Accident reconstructionists, to reconstruct events leading up to the accident.
In our example above, the prosecution could call a medical expert to help prove that the accident has indeed worsened the plaintiff’s pre-existing injury by providing case studies and examples of similar situations.
Expert witnesses, when called, play important roles in any trial, and their testimony could very well make or break the case. Let’s explore how expert witnesses can impact your car accident case.
#1 – They Provide Professional, Independent Opinions
An expert witness has not “witnessed” the accident or event in question; rather, they’re called upon to provide unbiased evidence and information about the subject matter.
The expert witness will provide truthful, unbiased opinions whether they help their client’s case or not, and the jury will likely use the information presented by expert witnesses once it comes time to deliberate the verdict.
#2 – They May Help Prove Fault and Justify Damages
An expert witness will not negotiate or barter on behalf of their client to help them secure a win. However, their unbiased and truthful testimony will help your prosecuting attorney prove fault and establish the extent of damages you may be owed.
Naturally, this outcome will depend upon the rest of your case. But juries will often seriously consider expert witnesses’ information, which they’ll likely use to calculate compensatory and/or punitive damages.
#3 – They May Help Clarify Technical and Confusing Information
Should the defense attempt to “gish gallop” the jury with overwhelming information that seems too technical to be false, an expert witness may step in to provide clarity on the topic.
The jury comprises people from all walks of life. Having an expert witness as a central, trustworthy source tends to provide a singular strand of commonality amongst the jurors that help connect them and make their verdict deliberation more efficient.
#4 – They May Provide Important Context to the Accident
Sometimes, more context is needed to establish fault and justify damages, and more information about the circumstances and events leading up to the car accident may be required.
An expert witness, such as an engineer or highway safety expert, can provide context on road conditions, highway construction projects, or traffic patterns and how they may have affected the accident.
#5 – They May Provide Third-Party Sources of Relevant Information
Since an expert witness must be as unbiased as possible when presenting their testimony, they may relate the facts of your case to case studies and other relevant examples to provide a reasonable perspective.
For instance, a financial professional called to help clarify financial damages may turn to a case study that found that 90% of similar car accident victims tend to miss two business days’ worth of work and are therefore owed at least 16 wage-hours of compensatory damages.
This is only a hypothetical example, but a jury may likely lend significant consideration to any third-party sources of information that an expert witness presents.
#6 – They May Work With Other Expert Witnesses Called to the Case
An expert witness could corroborate the claims of another should your legal team decide to call forth multiple expert witnesses. This could give the jury a large payload of valuable information about your case.
Conversely, having multiple expert witnesses presenting unbiased testimony simultaneously may not always go as planned. It may hurt your claim more than it helps should these experts disagree with each other in front of the jury.
It’s up to your car accident attorney to decide which approach is best for your case.
Fight for the Compensation You Deserve With Help From Our San Diego Car Accident Attorneys
Recovering the proper amount of damages you’re owed for your San Diego car accident case starts with getting the right professional help. Contact our car accident attorneys today for a free consultation.