Whether you are part of an ongoing court battle or you watch court dramas on TV, you have likely heard of an "expert witness." If you are in the midst of a civil or personal injury case, you might wonder who qualifies as an expert witness and what these people do. This is what you need to know about expert witness testimony.
What Is the Role of an Expert Witness?
Generally, an expert witness helps jurors understand technical ideas and complicated concepts most people might not know about. For example, a psychology expert witness may discuss the different mental health concerns that could arise as the result of a tort issue. Each case is different, so an expert witness may take on a variety of roles as part of a case.
Who Can Be an Expert Witness?
The rules regarding who can act as an expert witness vary from place to place. Different states may have their own rules, and the federal courts also have their own regulations. Generally, somebody can act as an expert witness if he or she has knowledge, skills, and education in a specialized field or industry.
Is Expert Witness Testimony Always Admissible?
Expert witnesses are not always accepted by the judge. The scientifically based testimony must be allowed in court by the judge in which he or she will determine the admissibility of the evidence. In some cases, the judge will not allow testimony because they acknowledge that the information is already known by the average person.
The judge must also consider if the testing methods used to support an expert's testimony were reliable. The judge may determine if the information has been peer reviewed or if a form of research can be replicated. They will also examine evidence for potential errors.
In some cases, the judge may determine that the testimony is not relevant to the case. In situations like this, the judge may determine that the testimony confuses the jurors.
However, expert testimony can serve an important purpose by ensuring that the jurors understand some of the more complex ideas and arguments presented by the attorneys, clearing up any potential confusion.
Do You Need an Expert Witness?
Expert testimony can become complicated, and it is always a good idea to hire an expert with the advise of an attorney. In fact, a tort lawyer or other professional in the legal field will even find the expert witnesses on your behalf, ensuring that you do not have to worry about the process.