Expert testimony is valuable during court cases as it helps build a solid and evidence-backed case. Having an expert witness by your side means that you have a professional with deep knowledge of the subject under litigation to weigh in on the matter. Since cases often depend on the testimony of the character witness, having an expert witness by your side is beneficial.
Who is an expert witness?
An expert witness is a professional with specialized knowledge about the subject under litigation which qualifies them to provide expert opinions in court proceedings. In simple words, their role is to give opinions on matters they are experts on.
An expert witness brings disposition to a trial in a subject they are knowledgeable about. They can play a part in court proceedings to explain exhibits, testify why the facts presented in a case are true or false and give a profound testimony about the matter in question.
Other roles of an expert witness include reviewing information regarding the case, such as accounts, medical documents, engineering drawings, etc. Expert witness services are valuable, especially when a lawyer doesn’t possess an inherent knowledge of the facts and evidence needed to prove a case in court.
Types of expert witnesses
Since every case is different, witness experts in court cases vary, whether they are for the prosecution or defense team. Finding the right expert witness for your legal matter can be daunting, especially when you need a specific witness. Let’s look at the major categories.
- Financial expert witnesses handle legal cases regarding financial crime. They explain financial details of the case, such as tax evasion, money laundering, accounting, fraud, etc., and probate courts use them to determine the division of assets.
- Forensic expert witnesses handle cases concerning criminal acts and help prove the logistics and details of the case. They include blood spatter analysts, ballistic experts, biologists, psychologists, etc.
- Engineering expert witnesses can determine if a product follows the manufacturing safety standards. They can handle copyright claims and are also knowledgeable about manufacturing and design.
- Medical expert witnesses are helpful in personal injury lawsuits and medical malpractice. They include physicians, nurses, therapists, and technicians, and they play a part in legal cases involving medical matters.
- Vocational expert witnesses are often called upon in cases concerning workers’ compensation and lost wages. They can determine if an individual is able to return to work and the capacity under which they can do so.
- Forensic toxicologists can offer a profound testimony into drug and alcohol-related cases. They can test fluids within the body to determine the presence of drugs, poisons, gases, prescription drugs, alcohol, or other chemicals.
- Mental health expert witnesses help determine if an individual can stand trial or be held mentally insane.
The bottom line
Expert witnesses are usually impartial to present their evidence and findings accurately; therefore, their duty remains the same whether hired by the claimant, prosecution, or defendant. Even if the legal matter seems obvious, an expert witness provides the court and jury with facts they may not have thought about. Obtaining expert evidence helps a lawyer prove a case and the court in reaching the best outcome.