It’s sometimes extremely easy to prove a negligent party caused an accident victim’s injuries or losses. However, in some instances, it’s necessary to enlist the help of expert witnesses. Their testimony can help demonstrate how a defendant is at fault and why a victim should be compensated.
The types of cases that require expert testimony are somewhat wide-ranging. This overview will address some of the more common examples.
Personal Injury Cases That May Require Expert Testimony
It’s important to understand that this is by no means an exhaustive list. The following are merely a few examples of personal injury cases in which expert testimony may play a critical role:
Medical malpractice laws can vary from one state to another. In general, a medical malpractice victim must show that they were harmed because a medical professional deviated from accepted standards of care and caused them injury.
It can be difficult to prove your case meets the criteria for medical malpractice. There are many reasons for this.
For example, perhaps you were injured as a result of a surgical procedure. You may not be entitled to compensation if you understood there was a chance you would sustain injuries due to the nature of the surgery. Some types of treatment have potential consequences. When patients know this, they typically can’t seek compensation for predictable risks.
However, sometimes negligent surgeons cause harm through carelessness. Medical expert testimony might be required to establish the medical standard of care and your surgeon’s deviation from it.
It’s not always immediately obvious whether someone’s negligence caused a car accident. For instance, perhaps an accident involves multiple vehicles. Or, it’s possible that factors such as hazardous road conditions or defective traffic signals contributed to an accident.
It may be difficult to identify the liable party in these circumstances. An attorney might coordinate with an accident reconstruction specialist.
Accident reconstruction experts are often engineers. They may also be law enforcement officers or similar professionals with specialized knowledge. Their work involves applying various scientific methods to determine the cause of an accident.
Future Medical Expenses and Loss of Earning Potential
Victims seeking compensation when filing personal injury claims or lawsuits are typically seeking compensation for economic losses. These can take the form of medical bills, lost wages, and more.
It may be unclear how much compensation a victim deserves after an accident. For example, perhaps a victim sustains injuries that may permanently limit their ability to work. Likewise, maybe they will require treatment and medical care in the future.
A financial or economic expert could explain how an injury victim’s accident has impacted their earning potential. A medical expert could testify as to the costs of their future medical care.
Accidents Resulting in Mental Health Problems
Sometimes, victims can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages. A victim may be able to receive compensation for non-economic damages if, for example, their accident left them with mental health struggles.
A mental health expert can testify regarding the severity of a victim’s mental health issues and the degree to which they may affect their quality of life. Mental health experts can also be helpful when it’s necessary to determine if someone is of sound mind.
Again, these are just a few common examples. What’s most important to understand is that victims usually don’t seek expert witnesses themselves. A qualified lawyer will determine whether expert testimony can strengthen a case. If so, they’ll usually be the one to contact an expert.