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Are Expert Witnesses Needed to Win a Personal Injury Case?

Dealing with the immediate aftermath of an accident due to the negligence of another can be extremely daunting. There are many things to consider at once.  A priority is responding to your immediate physical and mental health needs.  There is also the task of holding the negligent party responsible, filing insurance claims, and collecting the financial recovery to which you are entitled. Where there is not a settlement, you may have to take your case to court and have a judge decide the monetary award. This presents a new host of challenges in terms of how to present your claims and defenses in court.  The experienced personal injury attorneys at Krum, Gergely & Oates, LLC are here to help you and will guide you through each step from filing the appropriate claims to obtaining the compensation you deserve, whether that be through settlement or trial.  

Going to trial entails presenting your side of the story through witnesses and evidence, both direct and circumstantial, as well as presenting expert testimony. 

What is an expert witness?

It is quite common for both parties in a personal injury trial to make use of expert witnesses to highlight aspects of their case.  An expert witness is a “specialist” in a particular area and will offer testimony as to a certain specialized subject matter.  An expert witness is able to testify about matters that require professional expertise or some other specialized knowledge.  This is different from a regular “lay” witness, who is only able to testify as to personal observations and personal knowledge but cannot testify about matters that requires expertise. A “lay” witness also cannot offer their opinion at trial, whereas a qualified expert can offer their opinion. 

Why do you need an expert witness?

An expert witness can be invaluable in assisting the fact-finder to understand a key aspect of liability of the offending party in a personal injury case.  The expert witness can help explain: 

  • How the defendant’s negligence led to the plaintiff’s injury
  • The necessity of medical care that the injured party underwent
  • Future medical care needs 
  • Impact on future earnings based on the injury to the plaintiff
  • Breakdown analysis of the act that led to the injury

In Maryland, the admission of expert testimony is governed by Rule 5-702 and states: 

Expert testimony may be admitted, in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if the court determines that the testimony will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. In making that determination, the court shall determine:

(1) whether the witness is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education,

(2) the appropriateness of the expert testimony on the particular subject, and

(3) whether a sufficient factual basis exists to support the expert testimony.

Types of expert witnesses

 There can be any number of expert witnesses that prove relevant in a personal injury matter.  The type of expert witnesses you may want to call will depend on the specific facts of your case.  All are critical in helping to establish liability. There are some common expert witnesses; however, which are the following: 

  • Accident Reconstruction Expert: an expert trained to investigate, evaluate, and determine fault in an accident; they look at all aspects of an accident from beginning to end and look at all relevant information such as speed, road conditions, vehicle conditions, and injuries sustained.  It is especially helpful to have this type of expert if fault is not immediately clear or there are gaps in the memories of those involved as to what happened.
  • Medical Expert: an expert medical professional who can testify as to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, the long-term prognosis and treatment requirements of the injured party, as well as to the reasonableness of medical cost for treatments provided to date and future treatments.
  • Vocational Expert: this type of expert has specialized knowledge of the job market and skills required to perform particular jobs, and will be able to explain the future career prospects, or not, of the injured plaintiff and their ability to work. This goes to lost future earnings which can be recovered in this type of litigation. 

Call a KGO Personal Injury Attorney Immediately

If you have been injured in an accident, the personal injury attorneys at Krum, Gergely, & Oates, LLC can help you obtain the compensation you deserve and to which you are entitled.  Our experienced personal injury attorneys will file any claims necessary with the appropriate insurance carriers and will negotiate and litigate claims on your behalf.  Contact the personal injury attorneys at Krum, Gergely, & Oates today, for a consultation.