Expert witnesses provide testimony in many cases, including personal injury cases. Parties on both sides of the case may offer expert witness testimony during a trial. Parties may also use expert witnesses to assist them during the pre-trial investigation.
Testimony from an expert witness can assist jurors in understanding issues and concepts that might be difficult for a layperson to understand. For example, expert witness testimony may help jurors interpret the meaning of technical evidence and how it relates to the disputed matters. Continue reading to learn more about expert witnesses in California personal injury cases.
Who Qualifies As an Expert Witness in California?
California Evidence Code §720 states that a person is qualified to testify as an expert if they have extraordinary experience, knowledge, training, skill, or education sufficient to qualify as an expert in their particular field.
Qualifications that the court may view to determine whether a person is an “expert” in a specific subject include, but are not limited to:
- Professional credentials, including training, education, and skills
- Years of experience in their particular field
- Published research and studies
- Peer-reviewed papers and articles
- Specialized certifications, training, and knowledge
- Reputation in the field
Under California Evidence Code §801, expert witnesses may testify regarding their opinions and inferences based on the facts of the case. In contrast, a lay witness may only testify about their perceptions of a situation based on what they actually saw or heard. Therefore, an expert witness can provide unbiased testimony regarding a much more comprehensive range of issues than a lay witness.
The Requirement to Disclose Expert Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case
Section 2034.210 of the California Code of Civil Procedures requires parties to disclose a list of the expert witnesses they intend to use at trial. Also, the parties may demand copies of discoverable writings and reports made by expert witnesses when preparing their opinions.
Disclosing a list of expert witnesses allows each party to research and confirm the expert’s qualifications. It also allows the parties to prepare a challenge to the expert’s opinions. Parties may hire expert witnesses to refute the statements and testimony presented by the opposing party’s expert witnesses.
Examples of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases
Experts from various fields may serve as expert witnesses in personal injury lawsuits. Examples of expert witnesses used in personal injury cases include, but are not limited to:
Medical experts include surgeons, therapists, physicians, and other medical professionals. A party may use a medical expert to provide details about their injuries and how those injuries impact their daily life. For example, a medical expert may testify regarding how an injury from a car accident prevents the plaintiff from returning to work, caring for themselves, engaging in intimate relations, or providing child care.
A party may use a medical expert to testify about the extent of an impairment or disabling condition. The testimony may support demands for future lost wages, ongoing medical care, and the need for personal care.
Economists and Financial Experts
A party may call a financial expert or economist to testify about future financial losses caused by injuries sustained in a trucking accident. For example, an economist may explain the calculations for the anticipated loss of income or reduction in earning capacity due to a disabling condition. In addition, financial experts may testify about the cost of future medical care and personal care based on the person’s needs, age, and anticipated inflation rates.
To recover compensation for a traffic accident, you must prove that the other party caused the crash. Accident reconstructionists assist by recreating how the car accident occurred. By recreating the collision, an accident expert can identify the factors that led to the crash and who is responsible for those factors.
Engineering and Manufacturing Experts
Product liability claims are complex personal injury cases. The plaintiff must prove that the product was defective and caused their injury. Manufacturing and engineering experts provide expert opinions of how a defect occurred and how it caused the injury.
Other Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases
Many types of expert witnesses work with parties in personal injury cases.
Other examples of expert witnesses include, but are not limited to:
- Commercial trucking experts
- Forensic experts
- Road design experts
- Vocational experts
- Pain management experts
- Mental health experts
- Lifecare planning experts
An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney will assess the case to determine the types of expert witnesses needed to prove the allegations of causation, fault, and liability.
Being injured in an accident can be devastating. Dealing with insurance adjusters, medical bills, and property damage claims can be overwhelming.
Call an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney to handle your legal matters after an accident or injury so you can focus on recovering. An experienced lawyer will have access to leading experts in various fields and fight to get you the maximum compensation available for your claim.