What Is Expert Testimony?
Sometimes when an accident—or even a death—occurs, an investigation is conducted, and a conclusion is reached that may mean someone else is responsible and should answer for it in court. If this happens, the way to determine whether someone is liable to pay for damages in a lawsuit is if a judge, or, if present, a jury, is presented with all the facts of a case. Once the information is made available, it’s time to use that information to make a decision.
However, this in no way guarantees that the present information is simple and easy to understand. The physics and sequence of events of a car accident, the possible consequences of a traumatic brain injury, or even just the way technology works—and fails—can be baffling to laypeople, not familiar with the complex, technical intricacies of a situation.
So how does a judge or jury then make heads or tails of the information they need to make a decision? This is where an expert witness, giving expert testimony can sometimes be invaluable in making a case.
Not All People Need To Be There
Usually in a trial situation, when a person is brought to the stand, it is either as a plaintiff, defendant, or witness. In each of these three cases, there is actual involvement with the incident at the heat of the lawsuit, having experienced it, or seen it happen. This is not the case with expert testimony or an expert witness.
When expert testimony is required, this usually means that someone with special knowledge and training is being brought in, usually to help reinforce an argument. This is done by drawing on the specific knowledge of the expert, to educate the judge or jury on certain aspects of the case, so that they can decide with a clearer understanding of the situation.
For example, if someone has suffered from traumatic brain injury, it is easier to bring a doctor, usually an expert in TBI, to explain how it is that TBI occurs, and what the possible effects of TBI can be. In this way, the jury can understand that a person suing for personal injury may have their life irreparably changed, may no longer be able to work, and may even face additional challenges in the future, such as impaired mobility or paralysis, depending on the extent of the injuries.
This helps the jury to understand exactly how the victim is suffering, and why the damages being specified are placed at the desired amount. If an injury means a person can never work—or even walk—again, for example, a doctor explains the exact mechanics, and what the victim can expect in terms of quality of life in the future, paints a much clearer picture of why a lawsuit is taking place.
This is why if you find yourself fighting for compensation in court, an experienced personal injury attorney will draw on extensive resources, including securing expert testimony, to make sure the full weight of the facts and arguments are presented in a clear way in court.