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Objections to Make to Expert Witnesses

The testimony of an expert witness is often important to the case, and in some circumstances it is enough to lead a jury or judge to side with the plaintiff. However, there are in many situations certain objections that are made to these professionals for various reasons.

This could be to ensure their analysis of the evidence is based on factual information and not open to interpretation. It could be due to the opinion of the expert being in opposition to the scientific community for the same procedures. Another objection may be by the client in working with someone that is only marginally relevant to the subject of the case. This could be an expert witness with a background in medicine when the suit is about a construction defect.

No matter what the objection is about, it is imperative the matter is cleared up so that the claim may proceed. If certain objects are still not resolved, the matter could lead to opposing counsel disqualifying the expert witness with his or her questions. If the problem is with credentials, these must be supplied to the judge, and objections should be resolved long before this occurs. When
the complaint is over the testimony, the professional must ensure there is enough data and proof backing his or her methods to succeed against a Daubert challenge. Any objections to the expert witness may cause complications if not concluded before he or she is to take the stand and provide his or her testimony.

Analysis and Scope of Information

It is vital that the analysis of the data and evidence provided is based on factual and testable methods rather than legal processes as this would be objectionable. Any work product that is considered that of a lawyer should remain with the legal representative and not taken on by an expert witness. Theories and impressions should not be given in court, as these may not be considered conclusions or based on standard practices and methods of a scientific background. Examination given of baseless speculation has no room in a court case, and it may be deemed inadmissible.

The testimony that is given in a case must be within the scope of an expert witness’ field of study, or it may be considered outside the scope of his or her known information. This means that any questions put to the professional about a subject that he or she has not studied or has practical experience in would be outside his or her purview. Translating data and details to the judge or jury requires extensive understanding in the subject matter, and if the expert is not well versed in the information, he or she is not capable of providing an expert opinion.

The Testimony

Sometimes there are questions that are asked multiple times with objections being standard when the information has already been given. The only times this action is necessary is if there needs additional clarification on a subject or method used to arrive at a conclusion of the incident or event. Otherwise, this may be viewed as harassment of the expert. This may also arise when the opposing counsel purposely misstates the testimony provided by the professional in order to attempt to catch the individual out. However, it is vital that these instances are corrected as soon as possible or the judge or jury may become confused about the data or presented conclusion.

Other objections may occur when the opposite lawyer attempt to lead or coach the expert through a line or questioning or through details. This means the counsel may ask for a suggested answer, an opinion that bares no relevance on the subject he or she is an expert of or in order to obtain a supposition. Clarification may be needed to clear up complicated facts and evidence, but keeping within the scope of the field of study is important. Another object often arises when the form of a question is improper. This could be a vague or broad inquiry or something that is not related to the professional such as another field. This may also be through a series of questions where no opportunity is afforded to answer the previous request.

The Expert Witness and Objections

It is important for an expert witness to be prepared for many objectionable acts to occur. With the right relationship between the professional and the lawyer, this may be averted through valid objections raised for the issues. It is crucial that the expert witness’ testimony is presented appropriately without any additional confusion added to the situation.

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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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