A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.
Before you choose someone to be an expert witness for a personal injury case, you and your personal injury attorney will have to vet the person. The following are some of the tips to use for the vetting process.
Scrutinize Academic Credentials
In most cases, a person becomes an expert on a subject by going to school and studying the subject. Therefore, the academic credentials of your potential expert witness should be your first port of call during vetting. For example, if you need expert testimony on an injury complication, you need a medical doctor (preferably one who specialized in the part of the body or the injury). Therefore, you should confirm that your potential expert went to medical school.
Research Previous Work as an Expert Witness
It is also advisable to get an expert who has performed the role of an expert witness in the past. In fact, you should research court records to find out how the expert performed and whether the judge or other relevant parties made any comments about the person. That way, you don't risk putting someone who can embarrass your case on the stand.
Review Published Books and Articles
If a person is a true expert on a field, they usually talk about the subject in other areas or with others outside their work areas. Experts publish books, submit articles to journals, and write about their research, opinions, or work. If your expert has such writing, you should peruse their works to confirm that the expert will be the right fit for your case.
Research Online and Social Media Posts
In this digital age, you can get more information about a person simply by researching them online. News articles, blogs, and social media sites are gems when it comes to researching a person. You should not only know what the person does or says online, but you should also concern yourself with what others say about the expert. That way, you won't end up with a controversial figure that the jury might not like as your expert witness.
Get Other Lawyers' Opinions on the Expert
Lastly, it's also a good idea to consult other legal professionals who have dealt with the expert before. The lawyers' opinions on the expert will help you understand whether the expert is a good communicator (an integral asset of any witness) and whether the expert is also reliable and easy to deal with.
Vetting an expert witness is a difficult, though necessary, task. You must be careful because the witness can make or break your case with the quality of their testimony. Luckily, most personal injury lawyers have a ready team of experts in various fields that the lawyers can also turn to if needed. This is one more reason it's best to let a lawyer handle your personal injury case.Share
4 July 2019