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Expert Testimony: Who Needs It?

You were injured when your car was struck from behind by another vehicle. You sustained injuries to your back and your neck that not only have caused you pain but could possibly hinder your ability to work in the future. You retained an attorney and are getting ready for trial. Your attorney has just told you she needs to retain expert witnesses for your case and their fees will be taken from any amount that the jury awards you at trial.

"What? What do I need expert witnesses for? Wasn't I hit from behind? Isn't it clear that it wasn't my fault? Why should I agree to lessen my recovery to pay for experts to prove something that any sane jury should be able to figure out on their own?"

These are all logical questions that you have every right to ask. Here are the answers. Even though liability for the accident may be clear-cut, your injuries and damages are not. The amount and scope of the damages you can prove at trial will have a huge effect on how much money in damages the jury will award. Otherwise, you can have the unsatisfying result of winning your case on liability but receiving no money damages.

Expert Medical Witnesses

Expert medical witnesses are needed to testify as to the extent of your injuries, the likelihood and degree of recovery, and any permanent injuries that will remain for the rest of your life. This is not information that can be obtained from medical records, and you do not have the expertise required by the court to testify about it. Therefore, your attorney will have to hire medical experts to provide this information to the jury at trial.

Suppose you previously worked as a carpenter but will be unable to do this work in the future because of your injuries. Expert vocational and economic experts will be needed to provide evidence of the jobs that you can do and the amount of money you will be losing over your work life because of these injuries. Generally anything that you or someone who witnessed the accident cannot testify about must be offered by an expert witness.

If you have been injured by the negligence of another, obtain advice from an experienced attorney through