Expert witnesses typically don’t enter the conversation until a claim becomes a lawsuit, and even then, only when liability is the main issue in the case. Though their testimony is generally informative, expert witnesses tend to be very expensive, and there is no guarantee that their expert opinion will help to bolster your claim. However, there are several types of expert witnesses commonly used in personal injury lawsuits, and in a closely contested case, they could end up making all the difference.
Medical doctors commonly serve as experts testifying as to whether a plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the car accident. Based on their extensive training and expertise, a doctor can offer an informed opinion regarding whether an injury pre-existed the accident or resulted from something other than the defendant’s negligence.
Accident reconstruction experts are generally engineers who use their knowledge and training to recreate the accident and testify as to what the cause of the accident was. Accident reconstruction engineers use every factor available to them, from traffic patterns to the tread on each vehicle’s tires.
Human factors experts come into play when things like reaction time are contested. A human factors expert can testify as to each driver’s perception based upon weather, lighting, angles, etc., the amount of time it would take for the driver’s brain to receive, process, and react to sensory input, and whether the driver could have reasonably taken steps to avoid the accident.
Life care planning experts are often hired to testify as to future damages. If you’ve been catastrophically injured in a way that will affect your day-to-day life for the foreseeable future, it’s likely that the insurance company will disagree with you as to what your future damages are worth. A life care planning expert in this case can be very instructive as to how much your post-injury lifestyle will cost, helping the jury to determine the amount of future damages that you are entitled to.
If you’re at a point in your claim where you’re considering hiring an expert witness, we recommend strongly that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction. If your case is contested enough that expert witnesses are coming into play, it is likely that a lawsuit will be necessary.
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It is important to remember to collect all the evidence available to you, even if some will be more valuable than others. Even if your immediate goal is to reach a fair settlement, you should prepare your claim as if you were going into court. Be reasonable with adjusters. Remember that they are people too, and as such they will be likely more willing to work with someone who is nice and respectful.
Call our Durham attorneys after your car accident to help you collect evidence at (919) 887-7892.