How to Explain Yourself as an Expert Witness When Your Conclusion Is Not the One The Lawyer Wanted
Sometimes, the conclusion that the expert witness comes to in a case is not what the lawyer wants because it does not support the argument the lawyer is making or trying to convince the courtroom about with the details. When this occurs, the professional hired will need to explain why his or her conclusion is counter to the argument.
White Collar CrimesAn expert that can clearly make out the data in spreadsheets, databases and accounting file will eventually learn that someone either did or did not commit the crime. This conclusion may counter the argument of the lawyer that hired him or her. In these situations, the conclusion is clear based on the details of the case and the information presented. The argument between lawyer and expert has little foundation if the professional cannot prove guilt or innocence through this type of data. The expert may need to support the lawyer, but sometimes that is not possible.
Applicable Standard and RulesThe expert hired for a case must apply applicable standards and various rules to his or her case. This professional has guidelines and laws that could apply to what he or she can do and what to accomplish with the situation. Some must use methods that are already proven to work and give results expected based on the testing. Many cases will involve the counter-argument with the lawyer because results will not comply with this argument. The tests, evidence and results may even oppose the argument completely and the expert must explain how this occurs and why his or her testimony does not support the lawyer.
The Explanation NeededThe expert witness in a case may need to explain why his or her opinion and conclusion are different than the lawyer’s argument. The primary foundation for the alternate conclusion usually stems from the evidence, testing and results. However, the expert connected to the case may also learn something else through the investigation into the matter. An example of a car crash with one argument could lead the professional to a conclusion that the other party is not at fault but that of the lawyer is because of the visible and tested evidence or a reconstruction and timeline of the incident.
Explanation of Conclusion ChangesThe expert may also need to explain why his or her opinion changed either before presenting it in testimony in the courtroom or after he or she provides the details in the court. The conclusion is at odds with the lawyer’s argument because of how the details of the case materials pan out to go against what the lawyer says and argues. The reconstruction of an accident may prove conclusively through careful examination that the other driver did everything he or she could stop in time. However,
either at no one’s fault or the fault of the client, the incident occurred.
The Services and Retainer AgreementThe expert usually performs certain services for the lawyer when hired for a case. These services usually involve presenting an argument through opinions, testing evidence, creating a report and performing other administrative tasks such as copying paperwork. The expert that creates a report may have his or her conclusion already present before testimony is given in the courtroom. This can give the lawyer an opportunity to either refute it or not use the expert to give testimony based on the contradiction in the conclusion to his or her argument. The expert may also explain the difference before it becomes a difficult
Communicating with the LawyerThe expert witness usually must communicate with the lawyer about various aspects of the case. This can and often does extend to the conclusion he or she may need to present either through testimony or through a report. The expert will write down all relevant details in the report along with the opinions he or she has of the case and evidence and the conclusion this professional comes to with the evidence or results of testing. The conclusion in the report may counter the lawyer’s argument, but the legal representative will have an advantage with an early report.
The Expert’s ConclusionGenerally, the expert will come to a conclusion based on evidence, recreation or reconstruction of the incident and testing results of case materials. He or she has an ethical obligation to follow through with these steps and conclude the case appropriately in line with these matters.
Provided by HG.org
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.