Expert witnesses are used in all types of personal injury cases. They work for injured parties, insurance companies, and defense lawyers. An expert witness can strengthen a case by providing opinions and evidence that a layperson cannot offer.
What Is an Expert Witness in a St. Louis Personal Injury Claim?
Expert witnesses have extensive knowledge and experience in a specific discipline or field. Their knowledge exceeds what the average layperson would know about the subject.
These experts offer unbiased testimony and opinions regarding various issues in a personal injury case. Because they do not have an interest in the outcome of the case, jurors often view expert testimony as more objective than testimony from the parties.
However, jurors might give more weight to testimony from non-retained experts. These experts are called to testify because they provided services related to the injury case, such as EMS personnel, emergency room physicians, police officers, firefighters, and EMTs.
A retained expert witness is someone who the party hires to assist them with their case. The expert might provide testimony at trial or assist with investigating aspects of the case. Because the party pays a retained expert, jurors could consider whether that influences the expert’s opinion and testimony.
Missouri Qualifications for an Expert Witness
Before a person can qualify to give expert testimony, they must meet the statutory requirements for an expert. The qualifications for experts under Missouri law require:
- The expert to be qualified by skill, education, training, or knowledge;
- The expert’s knowledge must help the judge or jury determine a fact at issue or understand evidence;
- There must be sufficient data or facts to support the testimony;
- Testimony is based on reliable methods and principles; and,
- The expert reliably applies the methods and principles to the facts in the case.
Expert witnesses can base their testimony and opinions on data and facts in the case they have been provided or personally observed. An expert may provide testimony in the form of an opinion or inference. Unless the court orders otherwise, an expert can offer an opinion without giving the reasons for it. However, they could be compelled to disclose the facts or data when cross-examined.
What Types of Expert Witnesses Are Involved in Personal Injury Cases?
The expert witnesses in a personal injury case depend on the issues and circumstances. Expert witnesses you might encounter in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to:
A neurologist might testify about the severity of a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. In addition, they can offer details regarding the level of disability and future medical or personal care the injured victim might require.
Economists and Financial Professionals
Injuries can result in life-long impairments and disabilities. Financial experts analyze the future loss of income, medical expenses, and the cost of care a person may incur because of an injury.
A rehabilitation specialist works with the injured party to determine the loss of functional abilities that could prevent the person from working, caring for their personal needs, or enjoying the quality of life they did before the accident. They can also testify about prosthetics and other specialized equipment the person might require in the future.
Accident reconstructionists use the evidence in a case to “reconstruct” how a car accident occurred. They identify the factors that led to the accident and the parties responsible for those factors. The specialist can also identify the level of fault for each person who contributed to the cause of the accident.
Manufacturing and Engineering Specialists
Product liability claims can include complicated issues related to design and manufacturing. Expert witnesses help judges and juries understand technical, scientific, and production concepts.
Auto accidents involving impaired drivers might require a toxicologist to explain how the drugs or alcohol levels in the person’s system impaired the driving abilities. A toxicologist can also assist in determining how a substance or drug could have caused an injury or illness.
Commercial truck accidents often result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries and conditions. Unfortunately, these complex vehicles require experts to analyze the factors that could have contributed to the cause of the crash, including maintenance problems, defective parts, and malfunctioning systems.
Mental Health Specialists
An accident and injury can result in economic damages. However, the person may also experience mental anguish and other non-economic damages. A mental health expert can testify regarding the effects of the accident and injury on the person’s mental well-being.
Choosing the Right Expert Witness for Your Case
Many types of expert witnesses could be used in a personal injury case. Other expert witnesses in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to:
- Transportation safety experts
- First responders
- Forensic specialists
- Life care planners
- Electronic records expert
- Pain management specialists
- Road design and maintenance specialists
Our experienced personal injury law firm in St. Louis analyze all aspects of your case. We determine the issues in dispute and hire expert witnesses to strengthen the case related to those issues.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyers
At Schulz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers, we work with top-rated expert witnesses in their fields. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney. We want to help you receive a fair settlement for your personal injury claim.