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Expert Witness: Scientific Data and Its Use in the Courtroom

Expert witnesses are often contacted for their knowledge and expertise in a field of study. This information is used to explain to the judge or jury panel that certain actions occurred, and to the best of the knowledge of the expert that his or her conclusion is the outcome of the incident.

While the end result that is presented is the opinion of the professional, it is backed by scientific data. In some cases, the analysis of the situation is processed through scientific method, with evidence as the foundation of the circumstances and with a scientific stream of data supporting the conclusion.

The need for hiring expert witnesses is often observed through their examination of the testimony and evidence provided to support the case. They are often able to see things that others have not considered. This may be a method or process that may have been overlooked or details about the situation that are clearer through sifting through the material evidence or photos of the crime scene and the surrounding circumstances. If this was an incident that involved a timeline of actions, the professional is often able to recreate it. This enables the individual
to better understand what occurred and why certain injuries were sustained.

What is Scientific Data?

There are a number or processes used to determine the facts of a case based on the experience, training and knowledge of the expert. When it revolves around the evidence to determine the timeline of an incident, this may be ascertained by scientific methods, processes and procedures. The data extrapolated through these is useful in understanding and discovering who is responsible and how the injury occurred. With this, the professional is able to explain to the judge or jury what is needed so they are able to consider all the proof and deliberate. As informed as possible, this may provide a better chance of success to the victim.

Scientific data is collected through applying science and technology to the situation. This may include math used to find locations, considering weather conditions and road problems as applied to a car accident and what certain implements are used to cause the harm exhibited by the victim. A booklet or manual is used for reporting to the lawyer and the conclusion based on the expert’s opinion of the facts becomes his or her testimony. Along with his or her credentials and other case work being provided, this large document explains the entire process and what was found to be the reason for the incident and the wounds sustained.

The Necessity of an Expert Witness

Lawyers usually have a number of witnesses available for testimony. Some of these may include persons that observed the issue, but many only corroborate a portion of the incident. An expert witness does not necessarily have to be at the scene when the event took place. He or she, when a professional of the scientific community, is often able to reconstruct the instance. This may be explained to others from start to finish. For a company or agency, this may prove why a duty of care was owed, how it was breached and that the injury was caused due to the breach of duty. In other situations, this may prove how someone was negligent in his or her job tasks, and this led to the incident recorded. For some circumstances, the expert is able to lead a lawyer or law enforcement to further evidence.

An expert witness is also usually trained or experienced in the field that is relevant to the case. That means if the claim for compensation is due to an industrial accident, the professional would understand the daily processes, machinery and tools required to perform job duties. If the event took place in an office, the expert has knowledge of business transactions and the standard operations of employees. Additionally, many of these professionals have a background in multiple fields that permit them to access other aspects of a case such as medical documentation, chemicals, geography, psychological or emotional distress and numerous other subjects.

Expert Witness Assistance

A professional hired to assist in a claim has a professional demeanor, the proper appearance for the circumstances and decorum. As long as he or she has the correct characteristics, his or her very manner is enough to put the jury or judge at ease and place trust that the expert witness knows the field along with why certain items are relevant and meaningful.

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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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