What’s the Role of an Expert Witness?

Published on Aug 10, 2022 at 6:21 pm in Personal Injury.

expert witness

Personal injury incidents like car accidents can significantly alter a person’s life. Situations like these may not only temporarily affect a person’s ability to live as fulfilling of a life as they otherwise would have, but even claim their life.

While most personal injury cases are settled pre-litigation, a small handful go to trial. Personal injury attorneys handling these Maryland cases may need to solicit the services of an expert witness to help prove negligence or liability.

What Types of Individuals Are Considered To Be Expert Witnesses?

Expert witnesses are uniquely skilled or licensed professionals with specialized expertise in a certain area of inquiry. Some examples of expert witnesses commonly used by lawyers to prove liability in car accident, medical malpractice, premises liability, and other types of personal injury cases are:

  • Traffic engineers or crash scene investigators
  • Medical professionals, including doctors or mental health practitioners
  • Vocational analysts
  • Product design engineers
  • Certified mechanics
  • Financial analysts
  • Actuaries

The list above is only a brief overview of the various professionals who may provide qualified insight regarding a potential case before taking any legal action during the pre-litigation phase or at trial. 

When Might the Involvement of an Expert Witness Be Necessary?

Attorneys often reach out to expert witnesses to assess the merits of a Baltimore case when liability is initially unclear. A professional like this who has a clearer, expert understanding of how something functions may be able to more easily discern whether some of the following factors contributed to the victim getting hurt:

  • A product defect, including a design or manufacturing one
  • Inadequate monitoring during pregnancy or childbirth 
  • A physician breached their duty of care
  • Poor vehicle or truck maintenance
  • A property owner’s failure to warn of a hazardous property condition
  • Inadequate staffing resulting in neglect at a nursing home
  • A motorist’s reckless operation of a vehicle

While the list above is far from an exhaustive list of instances in which lawyers often consult with expert witnesses before agreeing to take on clients’ cases, it gives you a better idea of when they introduce such a third party into the mix. 

During the Pre-Litigation and Litigation Phase

Even if liability is clear, a lawyer may consult with an expert witness during the pre-litigation phase of a case. This generally happens as legal counsel seeks to build or strengthen their case for why their client deserves maximum compensation in their legal matter. Expert witnesses’ testimony may show:

  • An ad agency failed to detail all appropriate uses for a product and the potential dangers it posed if used in alternate ways
  • How a negligent doctor’s actions significantly deviated from physicians’ standard duty of care
  • A motorist’s operation of their vehicle showed a habitual disregard for their fellow drivers’ safety

In other words, personal injury attorneys may solicit the services of an expert witness when preparing a case for potential trial in hopes that it gives them a better chance of winning. Expert witnesses can also be utilized to substantiate demands for increased compensation, whether victims or their attorneys are negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster or justifying their demand for a monetary award during closing arguments in a civil trial. 

The insight these expert witnesses may provide that helps substantiate demands for increased compensation include: 

  • The severity or permanent nature of the injuries and lingering impairments, and associated costs tied to them
  • How an injury or illness may limit a victim’s ability to work in their previous career or remain gainfully employed at all
  • What a victim’s life expectancy and earning potential across their lifetime was (before their wrongful death)

Expert witness input and testimony can easily make or break whether an attorney deems you have a valid claim that they can prove (and you can win). Expert testimony persuades an insurance adjuster of the extent of your losses when demanding damages. This testimony can also impact a judge or jury’s perception of your damages, motivating them to offer a higher settlement than they initially anticipated.

Where To Find Expert Witnesses To Substantiate Your Personal Injury Claim

Bringing in an expert witness to testify in your case can be costly. The is good news that liability isn’t always unclear in personal injury cases. Hiring an expert witness to help with your case may be unnecessary. 

Your attorney should be able to tell if you have a valid claim or if they need to first consult with an expert witness about it before deciding during your initial consultation. Your lawyer should also advise you if they believe bringing in an expert witness while building your case is necessary to ensure you receive maximum compensation. 

Attorneys like ours at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC will know where to find expert witnesses to forward your case if their assistance is needed. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your Baltimore case and how to recover maximum compensation. 



Fill out the form below about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.