If you have watched any courtroom dramas in your life, you have heard the term “expert witness.” What are expert witnesses, and what role do they play in a court case? Why is it so important to have an expert witness testimony, be it criminal or civil? An expert witness is essential to your case, and here is why.
Expert Witnesses Have Practical and Court Experience
Expert witnesses are “expert” for more than one reason. They are always recognized experts in their field—an expert psychologist, for example, will have a lot of experience in his field and will be noted and credentialed in the specific area of psychology that your case is addressing. He, or she, will have published extensively and be known by any in his field as an expert.
In addition, expert witnesses will have experience in similar court cases. Not just any expert psychologist will count as an expert witness. An expert witness will have testified in similar cases before, which combined with their knowledge of the topic will enable them to present the facts of the case in a clear and concise manner that will help the jury and court understand what is going on. They know how to get around or explain complex jargon and get their point across.
Expert Witnesses Can Get Settlements
Nobody wants a court case to drag on for years of challenges, counter-claims and appeals, and nobody wants the initial proceedings to go on for months of painful testimony. Just the knowledge that an expert witness is involved alone can have a huge effect on settling a case without a lot of painful proceedings.
Expert Witnesses are Impartial
This is vital. Expert witnesses are impartial and unbiased. That means that while technically they can help either side of the case, their testimony will not be viewed as questionable in any way by the jury or court. Expert witnesses will be known to have blemish-free ethics and unquestionable morality. The witness will have no relationship with anyone involved in the case, and will have no motives to aid either side (though sometimes they may know one or the other attorney from having worked in prior cases). This impartiality will ease the court’s mind about any testimony the witness gives, reassuring them that the testimony is both valid and important.
Expert Witnesses Offer Insight as Well as Facts
Even if there is not a great deal of complex testimony and jargon to be explained, an expert witness can still be vital in offering insight into the case that other people might not consider. The testimony of an expert witness can often go a long way towards establishing things like motive or lack thereof, or the details of a circumstance that a lay person might not otherwise consider. Such insights can actually make or break a court case.
Choosing the Right Expert Witness
When choosing an expert witness you will want to make sure there are some key factors that we look for. Among these factors are:
- Professional experience and track record
- Strong history of court testimony in similar cases, as a representative for both plaintiff and defendant
- Current and active participation in his field of expertise
- Current credentials
- Articulate and Analytical
As an example, it does you no good to have an expert in surgery who does not have a current doctorate in their field, who isn’t currently practicing, and who just got their education last week. Nor will it necessarily be helpful if your witness has never before sat before a jury and testified—this experience cannot be undervalued.
The reason you want an experienced, active and recognized expert to serve as your witness is that someone with the right amount of experience will not be rattled when the opposing side in the case tries to discredit their testimony, which they will attempt to do. Even if an expert has decades of experience in their field, a lack of experience in court can lead to them being unprepared to face the litany of questions that will come their way, challenging their expertise.
Likewise, if a witness has a reputation for only representing one side, their testimony can fairly easily be presented as biased by the opposition.
Engaging, Articulate, and Analytical
Your witness should not only know their field inside and out, but they should be able to break down any situation into its component parts, and articulate that analysis of the situation in a manner that is easily digestible and engaging for the jury. These qualities will always be helpful when it comes to persuading the court of your argument.
Here at WIH RESOURCE GROUP, one of our top priorities in any case is to get the right expert witness from our team to assist you. We can find the expert witness who will have all the qualities above and more, to help you win your case.
Source: Bart Beier, Beier Law
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