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Expert Witness Reports: Skillfully Avoiding the Pitfalls

The use of an expert witness is often a matter of a successful or disastrous outcome in a court case.

These professionals have the knowledge and experience in the field of the case subject, and because of this they are able to explain in detail what is needed for the judge or jury panel to understand about how the victim of an incident suffers or must obtain more compensation based on injuries or factors of the claim.

With a clear, concise and comprehensive document reported to the courts for litigation, these experts’ testimonies are included after being examined by both the judge and opposing counsel.

Even though an expert witness is important for many cases, there are some tips needed for a lawyer and the experts themselves that may provide more knowledge in what to avoid when being contacted for testimony in a case. One of the most important tips is to ensure everything needed in the expert’s report is included. If this is not accomplished,
it could be thrown out when the victim is in desperate need of the details given. There are many state rules that often change from one location to another, but the lawyer should be aware of these. Adhering to regulations is part of the legal representative’s job so that testimony and evidence are included in the claim.

Necessary Information

When an expert witness has been contacted to assist with a case, it is essential only the necessary information is provided to the court through testimony. Though this is usually all opinions involving the subject matter and the circumstances of the incident, any extraneous details are not needed. The basis of the opinions of an expert and how the knowledge applies to the claim is important. All facts surrounding what the conclusion is based on should be included along with exhibits to assist in understanding the specifics. To further the validity of the professional, his or her credentials should be provided with all publications in the last ten years and any relevant certificates or degrees in his or her field. Certain related case involvement in the last four years is beneficial to prove he or she is qualified as an expert witness.

There are federal regulations of what must be supplied by an expert witness for testimony regarding a case. This means that the professional is required to give a full accounting of his or her opinions of the evidence and all factors involved, the basis and reason the conclusion was determined through facts and other elements along with qualifications that explain why the expert witness is more valid than any other witness. Through these steps, the expert is often able to detail the incident in a manner that assists the judge or jury panel in understanding certain aspects of the case. This may ensure greater compensation, a higher chance of a successful outcome or additional provisions.

Expert Reports

When drafting expert reports, there are numerous practices that are advantageous to the witness. When the report is ready for creation, the expert witness should converse with the lawyer to ensure the scope of the report is relevant and the details match the evidence provided. The document should usually be between three and fifteen pages, but the legal representative may want more, and this is only known when communicated to the professional. The factors, scope and details of the incident may determine how much is needed. All documents that are reviewed by the expert must be recorded, as his or her opinion must be based on something, and these facts are necessary.

Exhibits drafted are based on certain materials obtained for determinations of the concluding opinion. A contacts page or pages should be included so that the details may be cross referenced with all materials used during the reporting. For a clear understanding of the report, it should be read easily and have a professional appearance. It is best to ensure someone edits the manual for all content. The included information should be free of abbreviations, jargon and incomprehensible terms. The appearance of the document should be representative of the professional as if he or she were presenting the information to a colleague in the field.

Experts Reports

The weight of an expert witness is much greater than most others providing testimony. Because of this, it is important that reports are relevant, fully detailed and understandable to an average audience. Other professionals should be contacted to ensure the document is valid, edited properly and comprehensible.

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Disclaimer: 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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