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Using an Expert Witness in an Arbitration

Arbitration processes are generally similar to litigation but with significant differences that set these procedures apart to include the use of lawyers and binding or nonbinding conclusions. Arbitration is a formal method of resolving conflict before a third party that may require the services of an expert to explain complicated material just as in a civil suit.

The Role of the Expert in Arbitration

With the properly qualified expert in arbitration, it is possible to influence the outcome of the case. The person with the dispute may require the professional to explain certain aspects of the case that are confusing for everyone or in calculating or specifying specific laws and regulations that only someone with training and experience would know. While the client may not use the expert to win the case, the professional may inform the involved parties of various issues and problems that exist. This works similar to litigation in that the expert will inform and provide a professional opinion on the subject material and evidence.

It is not the job of the expert to take sides or give an opinion based only on a certain item. He or she may clear up confusion or give information about the subject matter and specify
particular data about something the courtroom would not know without the expert. His or her evaluation and opinion usually must have a basis on the facts and data with the evidence. Other unqualified experts may harm the case if explaining the matter unclearly or by showing clear bias. This is something the expert does not engage in when hired.

Arbitration and the Expert

Arbitration is an alternative to litigation and brings the two parties with a dispute together in a formal procedure. Someone without a stake in the argument oversees the matter for a possible resolution. This third party will hear the evidence and listen to both sides equally. Then, he or she will make a decision about the case. The expert is there to inform this third party about the certain issues within the subject matter. For vehicle accidents, this could involve reconstruction similarly to litigation cases. In many arbitration processes, the conclusion and decision are binding for all interested parties.

The expert may work with the client more closely than in litigation where the lawyer hired the professional and may prepare him or her for the courtroom specifically. Many experts suggest hiring a lawyer for arbitration to understand the steps, work through the conflict and for advice and information about the materials. The lawyer may suggest an expert if the argument is complex or confusing. Then, the client may work with the expert to understand the data or details. This may provide a better understanding of the individual as well. By hiring the expert, the outcome often has a higher chance of working in favor of informing the third-party arbiter so he or she may make a decision more quickly.

Binding and Nonbinding Arbitration

Arbitration is different from litigation in that the outcome could have a binding or nonbinding rule with the parties involved in the process. This is often similar to mediation. Depending on the provisions and situation, the two with the conflict may use arbitration as the starting point to determine if the outcome may provide the best resolution to the problem or if litigation is still necessary after arbitration completes. The expert will still provide similar or the same testimony and help along the way in informing the arbiter about the issues and given support for or against certain aspects of the claim.

If the arbitration is binding, the outcome will require both parties to hold true to the compromise sought. The arbiter will generally explain his or her decision based on the evidence available and why certain action is necessary. Then, each person may sign a document that binds him or her to the decision and follow through. Litigation is not generally available for the argument after the binding outcome reached finalizes.

The Expert in Arbitration

Similar to other court cases, the expert will present evidence and testimony about the subject matter and either support certain opinions based on facts or clear up confusion about the materials. He or she will remain unbiased and explain the case so that all parties may understand even if they do not have a background in the field. The professional may take additional time to test evidence and create a report for the matter while assisting the client with the details.

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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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