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Role of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases in Maryland 

If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another, you know that, depending on the type and severity of the accident, the impact can be devastating and far-reaching.  When an accident happens, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of your next steps.  

After first addressing any medical needs and taking care of your physical wellbeing, you may next be wondering how you hold the responsible party liable. The responsible party, whether that be another driver, or business owner, or machine operator, etc., may be liable for your injury under the theory of negligence.  The party who is injured would have to prove that the liable party owed a duty of care, breached that duty owed, and the breach caused your injury. 

Proving liability can be a challenge in certain circumstances, and there may be nuance involved in linking the breach of duty to the injury sustained.  To aid in successfully proving your claim, including damages owed, it may be necessary to hire an expert witness.  This can be especially valuable in more complicated cases such as medical malpractice cases or defective product cases, matters which typically involve scientific issues that are not part of a lay a person’s general knowledge.  The expert witness will be able to testify concerning the area in which they have particular expertise.  

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is someone who offers testimony to assist the fact-finder in understanding a complex concept.  The expert witness will typically not actually “witness” the accident as an eyewitness. Instead, the expert uses their specialized knowledge to explain difficult concepts.  The expert witness is someone who is qualified as an expert in their particular field of expertise, and who can offer opinion testimony at trial.  

Types of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases?

There are a multitude of expert witnesses that can be used in a personal injury case.  The decision about which kind of expert to use will be case-specific.  There are some common types of expert witnesses, which include: medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, and economic experts.

Medical expert testimony is typically coming in through physicians.  The physician will offer testimony concerning the type and extent of injury sustained and any treatment provided, and the prognosis of the injured individual.  The medical expert will also provide testimony about whether the medical bills were fair and reasonable for the particular treatment provided.

Accident reconstruction experts will offer testimony about the cause of an accident and the factors that led to the crash.  This type of expert testimony is especially valuable in highlighting who is at fault. 

Economic experts provide testimony about the extent and nature of any economic (i.e. financial) impact that the injured party will suffer as a result of the accident.  Economic damages in a personal injury case typically include the cost of medical care and treatment and loss of income or earning capacity; both past and present; and cost to repair and replace damaged property.

How is Expert Testimony Introduced?

Maryland Rule 5-702 is the rule which applies to the admission of expert testimony. Under this rule, a court may allow expert testimony to come into evidence “if the court determines that the testimony will assist the trier of fact [Judge or Jury] to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.”

The decision on whether to call an expert, the subject matter of the expert, and which specific expert to call is a critical and strategic decision that will depend on the unique factors of each case. It is important that you have attorney representation in your case, who will be able to synthesize the relevant factors and make an appropriate determination about the use of expert witnesses.

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.