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Value of Reports Provided by Expert Witnesses

Experts hired for a case generally provide a report of the incident that includes their conclusions, opinions and different stages of the issue based on evidence and testimony of others. That means that the value of these reports must be great and the quality should be above reproach.

While this is not always the case, most professionals hired for a court case, hearing or other legal matter attempt to provide the best value possible to ensure they are reliable, credible and relevant to the subject matter. This usually necessitates a strong relationship between the expert witness and the lawyer hired to assist with the charges.

Contributions form an expert witness may make the case, or they may be viewed with greater weight than other testimony. This means that a strong understanding of how these experts work is needed by the lawyer, and this translates into the reports being understandable by both legal representation and the judge or jury that will review the materials. The report could be drafted as soon as the professional is hired, or he or she could wait to review all evidence and testimony of other witnesses and then start the
report. The greater the quality and value of the information contained, the better chances for the plaintiff in the court case.

What is a Report?

Before a report is created by the expert witness, he or she may need to determine if one is necessary. A report given to the lawyer and the court usually contains everything about the case to include testimony and evidence as applied to certain standard methods of scientific processes. These methods are then utilized to extrapolate a correlation to the incident. This means that there is a connection from one piece of evidence to link the defendant or another party as responsible for the problem and the injury or damage to the plaintiff. Other important details contained within a report include diagrams, pictures and timelines, and explanation of certain links and similar items used to draw a conclusion.

Once all details have been gathered for the case, the expert witness is able to create the report to explain evidence, provide a reconstruction of the incident if necessary and apply graphics or other visual aids to assist in translating the documentation to the judge or jury. Other information must be included per federal laws such as statements of all opinions of witnesses, facts and other data that may be used to inform the expert of certain details and similar exhibits. Other credentials are necessary to supply to the judge, but these may not need to be included in the report. Once completed, the report may be a few pages or more than ten supplying all relevant data.

The Value of the Report

The report should provide sufficient data, details and connection between the liable party and the evidence. A complete statement on each opinion provided on the case is usually necessary based on court requirements of disclosure. This means there must be a complete start to finish in the report to include methods used, why these processes were necessary, how the evidence states certain facts, why associated facts point to a conclusion, a timetable or reconstruction of the incident and various similar items. All materials that were used or intended for use should also be labeled in the report details. If any external sources or resources are needed, these may be needed for reproduction or use.

The involvement of the lawyer may be needed to draft or complete the report. When the information is reliable and relevant to the subject matter, it may be determined that the report is of value to the legal representative and the court. Any errors or inconsistencies should be removed from the final report that is provided to the judge and lawyer. This means all grammatical errors, backtracking to change details and other matters should be completed before the final product is given over. The conclusion of the report and all valuable data must connect to standard or reproducible testing and a connection to testimony, evidence or a line of thought that may be traced to certain sources.

Scope of the Report

Legal and strategic concerns may be part of completing the report. This means that some matters may need to be completed by the lawyer when the expert is not within the scope of his or her field. This may concern certain laws or legal jargon and regulations. If the expert’s field is not related to these matters, he or she may need assistance.

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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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