Experienced Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers frequently enlist the help of experts to strengthen their clients’ cases and explain complex topics. Below, we explain what qualifies someone as an expert witness and how they can impact a legal claim.
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What Is an Expert Witness in a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case?
According to 225 Pa. Code Rule 702, an expert witness is an individual who possesses specialized knowledge, experience, skills, education, or training in a particular field. This knowledge or skill is generally beyond what an average person may have.
Expert witnesses use their expertise in personal injury cases to provide opinions or insights. These help the judge or jury understand technical or complex issues related to the accident, injuries, and other damages.
While traditional witnesses testify about what they saw or experienced, expert witnesses give professional opinions. These are based on the facts, evidence, and data in the case. Persuasive expert testimony can sway judges or juries from one side to the other.
What Qualifies Someone As an Expert Witness in Pennsylvania?
Not everyone can qualify as an expert witness. At trial, a court will recognize someone as an expert if they have specialized knowledge, experience, skills, education, or training in a particular field. But what does this look like?
The qualifications necessary to become an expert witness vary depending on the field and your case.
An expert generally must have a substantial background in their area of expertise, which could include:
- Advanced degrees or certifications
- Extensive professional experience
- Recognition through awards or publications
- Practical experience relevant to your case
Courts will assess certain factors, like those above, before qualifying someone as an expert.
What Types of Expert Witnesses Are Involved in Personal Injury Cases?
Several types of expert witnesses are utilized in personal injury cases. Each serves a unique purpose. From testifying about how your accident occurred to how your injuries will affect your long-term income, experts play an important role in providing persuasive evidence to the judge or jury.
Different types of expert witnesses include:
These are the most common experts in personal injury cases. Medical experts include doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals. These experts can review your records and testify about the extent of injuries, treatment, and prognosis.
Accident Reconstruction Experts
Accident reconstruction experts are common in auto accident cases. Reconstructionists analyze how an accident occurred by reconstructing it with evidence and data. They are commonly used in cases where liability is disputed or unclear.
Financial experts are common in cases involving substantial financial losses. These experts calculate the economic impact of your injury. This may include lost wages, diminished earning capacity, or future medical costs. It may also include expenses for long-term rehab or disability.
Mental Health Experts
Personal injuries are traumatic. Psychologists or psychiatrists may testify as experts about the psychological impact of your injury, such as your trauma or pain and suffering. These can help judges or juries understand the non-financial effects of your accident.
Personal injuries may impact your ability to live or work independently and earn a living. Occupational specialists testify about your ability to live and work after an injury. They can analyze your future employability and need for accommodations.
Every personal injury claim is different. A Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help you identify which experts will strengthen your case.
How Does a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Work With Expert Witnesses?
A personal injury lawyer is crucial in selecting and using expert witnesses.
Be sure to consult a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer for help with:
- Identifying Your Need for Experts: Experienced personal injury attorneys can determine the type of expert witness required in your case.
- Selecting the Right Expert: Most personal injury lawyers have worked with experts in other cases. They will use their network to find the most experienced expert for your case.
- Preparing the Expert Witness: Lawyers work closely with the expert witnesses to prepare them for testifying at trial. This ensures they understand the legal aspects of your case and the key facts.
- Challenging Opposing Experts: The opposing party in court will likely retain their own expert. Personal injury lawyers help cross-examine the opposing party’s expert witness and highlight flaws in their testimonies.
From selecting the best expert for your case to preparing them to testify, personal injury lawyers play an important role in using expert witnesses.
A Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Can Retain an Expert Witness For Your Case
Expert witnesses are invaluable in many personal injury cases. They analyze facts, evidence, and data to clarify complex issues for the judge or jury. Their testimony can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Schedule a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers from Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 to learn how an expert witness can strengthen your case.