To become an expert witness, there are no specific minimum requirements. However, the opinions must be based on some scientific fact and experience. A person may sometimes have no formal education and be an expert witness depending on the area of law being charged and the expectation of knowledge involved in that area.
To better understand the role of an expert witness in your Boca Raton car accident case, it is critical that you consult with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can help an individual understand how the testimony from an expert witness could help their case.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Many times, a lawyer will use engineers, architects, accident reconstructionists, economists, and various other qualified individuals depending on the charge. The only minimum requirement of an expert witness is that the person discusses with the judge how their opinion is based on some sort of scientific fact, and that there is research and history to back up said opinion.
Benefit of a Witness
The more technical the issue, the more important an expert is. For example, in a case where a person died inside a piece of industrial equipment, it is a safety issue and an attorney cannot explain to the jury why the safety issue existed. The expert is necessary to explain why the lack of the safety device was an improper design of the equipment, so the expert was there for a specific reason to explain why this equipment was defective, because it did not have this and based on their experience as an engineer, this is why it was defective, and had they done this certain thing, the guy will probably still be alive.
Relationship with the Plaintiff
There is no prohibition against the expert witness having a relationship with the plaintiff in a car accident case. However, that element would be cross-examined on the basis of bias or impartiality. If an expert has in fact known the plaintiff for an extended period of time, the judge may question if the opinion is truly unbiased, or whether the opinion is based on the fact that the two parties are friends.
Relationship With an Attorney
Such a relationship may also be brought into question on behalf of the attorney. If the attorney has a strong relationship with the expert witness in a Boca Raton car accident case, the defense attorney may call into question the amount the expert witness is being paid, or their loyalty to the specific attorney they are working on behalf of.
For example, there are some doctors that make as much as $1,000,000 a year testifying against injured people. Again, there is no prohibition against such a relationship, but it is subject to cross-examination and impeachment, whether it is the relationships with the injured party themselves or their lawyers.
Utilizing a Witness
It is important, during trial, that the expert witness is known to both sides of the court. Any surprises could prove both suspicious and detrimental during a Boca Raton car accident case.
During accident litigation, a plaintiff’s attorney might suggest the use of an expert because there is an issue that came up that would best be addressed or substantiated by an expert, such as, the speed of the vehicle and how fast the person was going. This could be done using a crash damage analysis.
A qualified expert witness in a Boca Raton car accident case can testify if one vehicle protruded, and the amount of damage that was done. This can be used to extrapolate the speed of the vehicles.
Lighting conditions, road conditions, and further elements can only be explained in Boca Raton car accident case using an expert witness. If the case is understandable by a random person, or a juror, then a person does not need an expert witness. If it is outside common knowledge, however, then the person needs an expert.
Weight of the Testimony
The weight that an expert witness’ opinion has on a Boca Raton car accident case depends on the jury. For instance, a doctor is often used to testify on account of the client’s injuries. Along with a doctor, before-and-after witnesses, eye witnesses, lay witnesses, and similar individuals will testify as to the individual’s injuries. All of these individuals are to be considered experts, but the weight that their opinions are given truly depend on the jury of the case.
As part of the jury instructions, they are told that expert witness testimony should not be given any greater weight than that of any other witness. These individuals have opinions based on subject matter that they are familiar with, but their testimony is to be judged by a person and given the weight they deem it deserves. Just because one is an expert, it does not mean that their testimony is more important, more valuable, or more substantial than anyone else is.