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Inconsistent Prior Testimony of Expert Witness: Effect on Case

When an expert witness is giving testimony, it is important to ensure everything is consistent and well prepared for the case. However, if the testimony is inconsistent when presented initially and then there are changes noticed in the information, it is possible this could harm the case of the plaintiff when he or she is noted as explaining different things.

An expert witness is hired to explain evidence, connect the situation to the perpetrator of a crime and in showing how the victim was injured or killed by the other party. To obtain compensation or other remedies to a situation, the professional is tasked with giving testimony that is both reliable and relevant to the subject matter in the claim for compensation or resolution. However, sometimes the expert is not as prepared as he or she should be, and testimony may not correspond correctly to previously supplied information. If there are inconsistencies, these issues are frequently pointed out or used against the plaintiff by the opposing legal counsel.

The effect on a case where an expert is unable to keep his or her testimony and details consistent is generally detrimental. The opposing lawyer uses these details to explain to the judge or jury how the
professional is not qualified to provide an opinion or does not know what has truly occurred. His or her details could be confused and cause the other lawyer to point these issues out. He or she takes true advantage when disconnecting the scene of the crime or injuries with the victim. Without showing or demonstrating that the plaintiff has been wronged by the defendant, the compensation or a settlement may not be possible.

Consequences of Inconsistencies

An expert witness is tasked with providing his or her credentials as well as testimony to the judge prior to presenting it to the jury. When there are inconsistencies in the testimony initially offered, it is possible the entire case could be thrown out or penalties are incurred by the plaintiff party. The expert witness could be removed from the proceedings as an expert. It often makes the entire plaintiff party look bad, and the expert’s credibility is harmed. The inconsistencies could be small in a single detail or they could be great in how the scene did not involve the defendant at all.

The larger the inconsistencies, the more harmful to the case the involvement of the expert witness is. If minor details are incorrect, this could lead to larger problems. The methods used to understand the incident or to connect the defendant to the scene or other evidence may be thrown off by these differences in the claim. Time alterations may cause and entire change to the event. It is important to catch any inconsistencies in evidence and facts before they are presented to the courtroom. The lawyer should work closely with the expert to understand if any changes in testimony or other processes occur.

Previous Testimony

Expert witnesses are often called for the same case multiple times or to cases that are connected. When the previous testimony has inconsistencies or the new has more evidence or different opinions, this could affect the claim or case negatively. The expert witness could be disqualified and his or her entire testimony and methods used thrown out. Then, the lawyer that used him or her may need to scramble to find another expert to assist with the issue. Sometimes the expert may not be aware that he or she gave different details. When the facts are the same, the descriptions, information and details should be consistent and the same. The judge may have a record of what was provided in prior cases or witness statements.

If the expert witness has not been providing statements or has little experience with the courtroom process, he or she may be nervous and forget certain aspects of the case. However, the methods and other information should still be relevant and similar or the exact same as before. It is when there are inconsistencies with these factors of the case that the client is negatively harmed. Instead of clarifying confusing issues, the judge or jury are confused further as to why some concepts or ideas are presented in different ways by the same person. Through these actions, it is possible to ruin the entire plaintiff’s case or claim for compensation. Then, it may not be possible to fix what has been broken by the expert witness.

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Disqualifying an Expert Witness Due to Bias

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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