Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Why Dangerous Substance Cases Need an Expert Witness

     By HG.org

Dangerous substances have a variety of effects and hazards to those exposed to them. This could occur through inhalation, skin contact, ingestion and even burns through contact on clothing. To understand how these issues harm the victim and what consequences arise through these materials is important.
This means an expert witness is needed to translate the technical and statistical data for the average jury or judge that has no background in certain substances. This makes the job of a lawyer hired for personal injury cases tougher in choosing just the right professional with a background in the risks and hazards of chemicals, materials and substances.

Some of these issues are readily available at certain jobsites due to what’s being used for cleaning, insulation and in daily operations. Other substances may have been left out leading to a negligence claim. No matter what the reason, the responsible party may be held accountable through a civil suit. This is often a company or employees working for a business that has not been utilizing safety protocols correctly. In other instances, these accidents transpire through forgetfulness or careless behavior. When an incident occurs, an expert witness is frequently able to create a timeline of what happened and how.

The Hazards of Dangerous Substances

There are many liquids and gases that cause untold harm on the body from mere exposure. This means inhaling anything through the mouth or nose could burn or corrode the body internally. Ingestion of liquid or fluid substances may have similar or more severe consequences. Skin exposure often leads to burns, frozen flesh and scarring. Certain materials such as asbestos leave fibers inside the lungs that cannot be removed naturally. Numerous items such as these could cause cancer, disorders and medical problems for the rest of the victim’s life. Without immediate medical care, someone may die through access and exposure to various substances and chemicals.

Substances are often more harmful than first observed. This means that even if a temporary exposure leaves the victim with nothing but a cough, he or she could have an internal complication that later becomes damaged tissues or bleeding. Skin contact may start with a burn, but without medical attention sought immediately, the injury may become necrotic damage with the flesh being eaten away. Organs are frequently affected in the same manner. One part of the body may act as if nothing occurred, but weeks later, the person may start feeling pain. Substances with these side effects from contact and inhalation rarely exhibit what may later arise initially.

The Role of Expert Witnesses in Substance Cases

An expert witness may come from any professional field. However, when the case involves dangerous substances, he or she may have a scientific background, have worked in a medical laboratory or even be a doctor. To explain how the effect of a chemical causes certain damage, the individual must have either prior knowledge or have a method to test the theory. This may involve lab work, placing the victim through tests and checking blood or DNA work on the person affected. All of these processes may occur before testimony is even needed. It is important that the person exposed to these chemical and substances is no longer in danger for additional, continued or extensive injuries.

In checking and testing what could have harmed the person, the expert is able to catalog and report his or her findings. This may also affect the final outcome of the methods used. Determining what and how the substances have harmed the individual may prove who is responsible, if negligence occurred or why the defending party is accountable and responsible for damages. Specialized knowledge of dangerous substances often assists in cases in multiple ways, and it is possible to use these professionals to help in treating the injuries as well as provide testimony in the court room to aid in the plaintiff’s claims.

The Expert Witness’ Testimony

Through well tested methods, an expert witness is able to gauge what substances harmed the victim. With his or her professional knowledge, he or she is usually able to determine the how extensive injuries are and what is needed to remedy the situation. Comprehensive testing may yield results that definitively show how the defending party is responsible in some manner for the incident. By explaining all this and providing his or her end opinion in the matter, an expert witness gives testimony that is vital in increasing the chances of success in claims when someone has been exposed to dangerous substances.

Copyright HG.org


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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