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Most Important Qualities of a Human Factors Expert Witness

A human factors expert witness is someone hired to assist with cases where there is a need to understand the awareness, attention and disruption, learning and recollection, fatigue, and hazard perceptions of one or more individuals. Through this professionals’ insight, it may be possible to understand the motives and reasons for the crimes or injury caused.

As with most expert witnesses, it is important to hire someone with exceptional credentials to ensure he or she passes the initial interview with the judge and then with the opposing legal counsel. The professional must have a working and useful knowledge of the factors and elements of the case. This relevant understanding is necessary so he or she may be of direct use. When the courtroom situation moves quickly, open and continual communication is best and this may provide faster action during certain events. With the help of a human factors expert witness, many pieces of evidence and different testimony may become clear.

Human factors experts should be hired early so they are able to review the evidence and make opinions about the various elements involved. This could provide the lawyer with a report of the claim early and more time to review the information.
If one party needs to determine liability, this may be possible through the human factors expert and his or her processes. Hiring the professional earlier may also strengthen the relationship between the lawyer and the expert, increase communication and ensure the legal representative is aware of the information about the findings so he or she may talk about them with clear knowledge.

Qualities Human Factors Expert Witnesses Possess

Some human factors expert witnesses have different qualities than others. This could stem from education or a specialization due to being more familiar with other subject matter. This means for a professional, if he or she relates better to extracting electronic data from commercial businesses, than he would possess different qualities than someone that has studies and has an intimate knowledge of human behavior. Many professionals are experienced with their particular field of study through years or decades of research, practical application and education through degrees. The specific elements of a case may determine one professional should be hired over another.

Expert witnesses that have a background in human factors may have training as a psychologist, a human behaviorist, forensic sciences or with sociology. This could mean a macro understanding of society and groups of people or a micro level where the expert knows individuals and how they affect local environments. When they have had education and experience in the mind, they may know how someone thinks, what he or she is more likely to do and this directly connects to the case. These professionals may establish liability easier, and then they may be able to explain to the judge or jury how the victim is not responsible for the incident.

Utilizing a Human Factors Expert Witness in a Case

Once the type of professional has been hired, he or she may go to work through the evidence, testimony and other connected items in the case. It is best to ensure he or she has access to all materials as soon as possible. The expert may be able to determine if someone is involved in the incident, if his or her behavior shows guilt or innocence and similar issues. Through careful assessment, the professional may make decisions of using certain methods based on observations and detailed examination. This may be applied to criminal and civil claims for or against the plaintiff or defendant. However, proving a claim for the plaintiff usually requires explaining who is liable for damages and why.

If scientific methods are necessary, this may be to ascertain the location, time and similar factors of a case. If external or third-party elements are included in these matters, the expert may be able to discover them. This type of professional may have the capacity to find and then reveal to the court how the driver is not responsible for a multicar accident due to defects in the electrical system, why the structural integrity was to blame for a building issue and similar issues based on the characteristics, behavior and qualities a person exhibits and possesses. When this professional has been granted access to all the materials of the claim, he or she may increase the chances of success through reliable methods and a better understanding of the subject matter and personality of those involved.

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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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