How Expert Witnesses Can Help Your Case
Most people do not think of auto accident or other personal injury cases as involving complex technical and scientific issues. However, even the simplest case can often benefit from the testimonial input of a scientific or technical professional. Complex cases are often won or lost based on expert testimony and a strong expert report can often be the final straw that convinces an intransigent defendant to take a seat at the settlement table. As such, an attorney’s ability to choose and work with expert witnesses is almost always an essential component of his or her success.
We have previously discussed how Florida’s move to abandon the old Frye standard in favor of the new Daubert standard has opened the courtroom to expert testimony based on more cutting-edge fields and methodologies. The fact remains, however, that the expert testimony used in most cases is fairly routine and far from controversial:
- In a personal injury case, a vocational expert may be called to testify as to how the plaintiff’s ability to work has been impacted by a permanent injury.
- An accident reconstructionist may be called to theorize how fast a car was going at the point of impact.
- An economist may be called in a wrongful death case to estimate how much the deceased would have earned over his lifetime.
Experts are special in that they are testifying to matters that they did not personally witness. Normally this would be considered hearsay, but experts are exempted so long as their testimony is based upon reliable facts and methodology and would assist the jury in understanding the evidence or determining a disputed fact. An experienced Florida personal injury litigator knows how to effectively obtain and present the expert evidence necessary to get the best possible result.