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Expert Witnesses

Myths Involved in Looking for an Expert Witness

Many individuals believe that an expert is behind every door. Each professional may be used as an expert in almost any case. However, cases are varied, and hiring an expert is an extensive process that requires research and time. Ensuring that an expert is right for the claim and may work well with a lawyer demands a lengthy interview, several questions asked and answered and a rapport between the two parties.

A stronger relationship with the expert and lawyer, the greater communication possible and the better they may work in the case and to understand aspects of the evidence that previously were confusing.

The expert witness is not the most known of roles in the court room. Many remember what has been played on television of these persons being perfect in one show and unreliable and useless in another. However, they are experts in a field of study with the standard and usual aspects of average persons. That means they are weak against certain questions or lines of inquiry, but they have strength in their subject in both reliability and relevance. To ensure an expert is able to remain useful in the court room, they must be beyond reproach through a Daubert challenge.

The Expert Witness Myths

It is a myth that most experts have no viewpoints or any
support toward certain lawyers or clients. While these individuals are professionals in a certain subject and have knowledge about it above that of standard persons, they may still be manipulated and turned to a specific perspective. Other experts are hired only for one particular opinion or testimony about that singular question. Even though a witness with a specialty in a field of study is to recreate the incident or connect evidence to those responsible or with a timeline determine what occurred, some are hired specifically so the lawyer’s view is backed up. Without substantial proof, these professionals may be challenged.

Some in the medical or veterinary field are required to provide a view or opinion about treatment. However, when these individuals only study one aspect of medication or treatment, it is possible that their viewpoint is skewed and another expert witness may challenge the findings. That may then take up valuable time during the case for a Daubert challenge and invalidate the expert so that his or her testimony is redacted. Another myth is that all experts are used in the court room, but without being reliable, relevant and have the right qualifications and credentials, they may not be able to present anything in the court room.

What is Expected from an Expert

While there are many myths about court rooms, the proceedings and those involved, even experts are not expected to be humans rather than professional robots. However, even an expert hired for a case has drives, opinions and the need to prove himself or herself. This may mean testimony is challenged based on methods that may seem strange, and evidence or associations could be doubted due to different processes. However, as long as there is enough proof and a reasonable measurement to ensure the data has a correlation, the expert’s testimony should be accepted and given weight. An individual with a background in the relevant subject material is proven to be qualified before testimony may become a part of the whole experience.

Some believe that expert witnesses are only hired as an expert in court. However, most of these professionals have a career related or in the field they are hired for in a case. This means that if an expert is needed in a malpractice claim, a doctor could be hired as an expert witness. Someone similar may be used instead to keep costs down, but the individual will have experience or have studied the subject through course work or in classes. The person hired may even have a close relationship with the opposing expert. When the same field of experience applies to both professionals, this is possible.

What an Expert is Not

There has been a standard in use for what is considered an expert. While this has been broadened extensively since the Daubert trials so that the expert is relevant and reliable, he or she must still have related course work and experience in the subject of the court case. This usually means that the professional has worked in the industry or career field for years or decades. He or she must be able to use standard scientific methods to determine a connection between evidence and the incident. With the knowledge of the relevant subject, he or she is able to create a report and use other assistive tools to demonstrate to the judge and jury certain connections, associations and how the plaintiff has been wronged or needs compensation.

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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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