Do You Require Expert Witnesses to Strengthen Your Case in California?

The process of ensuring that you get compensation involves ensuring that you have a sufficient level of evidence. The evidence that you have must bring about a conclusion that the at-fault party is responsible for the harm and injury that you suffered because of the accident.

In certain instances, and even with a considerable amount of evidence, you may have to call specific experts so that they can corroborate your story that the at-fault party is responsible for the accident. An expert witness is skilled in some particular field and may authoritatively speak on a specific issue.

The evidence of an expert witness is indispensable when the court requires an expert to shed light on it. Their evidence shall help clarify certain aspects of the case so that anyone not an expert in that field can understand the issues. Experts, therefore, break down complex situations to understand a particular topic before apportioning liability on any single party. Without the evidence of an expert, you may be able to get a tiny compensation.

It follows from the above that the insurance company may hire an expert to challenge your claim. To counter this, engaging a personal injury lawyer is crucial, as they can help you enlist a qualified expert to strengthen your case. Navigating the complexities of finding an expert who can effectively support your narrative can be challenging; a skilled personal injury lawyer is instrumental in this process, ensuring you have a dependable expert to corroborate your story and bolster your claim.

This article shall explore an expert witness’s elaborate value and importance in a personal injury claim. The article shall also explore instances in which it is highly recommendable that you have an expert who shall corroborate your claim.

 Criteria for Expert Witnesses in California Law

Because expert evidence may be conclusive in determining a complex issue, various laws have been established to regulate the people who can give an expert witness statement. This is done to protect the process’s integrity and ensure that incompetent people do not purport to have the capacity to provide expert evidence.

California is no exception in ensuring that only competent people qualify to give an expert witness statement. Under California’s laws, an individual may only testify if the following criteria are met.

  • The individual is deemed competent in the field in which a subject matter relates. The competence should be supported by having sufficient education to qualify him as an expert in the medical field, having proper professional standing, and adequate experience in that field. The qualifications have to be provided. However, the same may be proved through otherwise admissible evidence, including their testimony;
  • The topic for which an expert witness is required is a subject of misconceptions and misunderstandings by laypeople. The misconceptions and misunderstandings may be present at the time, or they could be there, and
  • The expert evidence must be based on sufficient data and specialized knowledge. The data and specialized knowledge may be scientific or technical.

As an example, if the issue is contention around the issue of compensation for property damage, for one to give expert evidence, one must understand the technicalities and workings of the construction company. In light of this, one with such a dispute must engage the services of a fellow contractor to give an opinion in support of their claim for damages.

Typical Cases Requiring Expert Witnesses

As pointed out above, certain circumstances require retained expert witnesses to provide evidence. The situations that require expert opinion testimony include the following:

Medical Malpractice

When the claim is on the issue of medical malpractice, a medical professional is required to provide evidence. This is because the person can break down complex medical issues into more straightforward and understandable terms. Because they understand the problems, they can show how the medical personnel acted negligently when providing medical attention, leading to your injuries. Based on such explanations, the trial court and the jury shall be able to understand the claim and may likely award compensation for the medical malpractice.

Product Liability

Suppose your claim is on the issue of product liability arising out of design flaws, infringement on the safety standards, and any other manufacturing error. In that case, an expert shall be able to point out those errors as they understand them. As the issues surrounding any claims on product liability are complicated, a layperson will likely need help understanding them. Therefore, it shall be vital to have an expert witness’s testimony on those issues to understand them.

Automobile Accidents

If there is an automobile accident, an expert can clarify the various circumstances resulting in the collisions and establish the link between the accident and the injuries you sustained. As an expert skill, experience, and training, they shall be able to easily explain the calamity in a manner that is easy to understand. Your personal injury claim may be successful because of such an expert’s testimony.

It should be noted that in any instance that requires financial evaluation, an expert on such evaluation shall be critical in calculating the past and future lost earnings and any other eventual medical expenses. Estimating costs to be incurred in the future is a complicated process. Because of the difficulties incurred doing the calculations, engaging an expert is not an option. You must ensure that you have an expert talk about the financial aspect of your personal injury claim to get the compensation you deserve.

California’s Specific Criteria for Medical Expert Witnesses

Suppose a medical expert must give an expert witness statement on a personal injury claim. In that case, California’s laws provide the conditions to be adhered to. California’s Business and Professions Code section 2395 governs the issuance of medical expert evidence. In light of these provisions, the following are the conditions that should be adhered to:

  1. The medical expert must have a current and valid medical license in their field from the California State Medical Board or per the medical licensing requirements of the state that they come from;
  2. Their specialization in the medical field must align with that of the Defendant in the medical malpractice claim and
  3. The medical expert must have continuously practiced in the specialization that they wish to give expert evidence on or, in the alternative, have been a university instructor in the same field or a significant portion of their career. 

It should be noted that expert witnesses in the medical space can give evidence in areas related to their medical field if they can prove that their professional standards are similar to the Defendant’s specialty.¬†

Grounds for Expert Witness Testimony Disqualification

If the expert witness cannot communicate their expertise, the court shall order that their evidence be invalidated. It is of great importance that the expert can share their expert testimony in a manner that shall allow the laypersons to understand what they are talking about. It should be noted that the expert witness should give evidence that the jury and the trial court can understand before making their decision. If this is lacking, such an expert witness opinion shall be disqualified.

In other instances, experts may be disqualified if the court finds them telling lies. Experts are expected to be truthful at any given time, as their testimonies shall form a basis for making decisions. If they lack credibility, the court may invalidate their testimony.

It follows from the above that you should engage a truthful expert with the technical knowledge and experience in that field and can communicate their evidence quickly and efficiently if you desire adequate compensation for your personal injury claim.

Contact us if you need help finding a trustworthy, knowledgeable, straightforward, and reliable expert.

The Consequences of Not Having an Expert Witness

As pointed out above, the place of an expert witness in the success of a personal injury claim cannot be emphasized. Expert witnesses are crucial if your personal injury claim is successful. However, it should be noted that if you do not have an expert witness, it does not mean that your chances of success in your personal injury claim shall be immediately extinguished. Not having an expert witness to help with your case makes it harder to substantiate a claim, especially in complex cases.

At the trial of your case and during negotiations with the at-fault’s party insurer, you shall note that they may have an expert witness on their side. If they have an expert witness to support your case, they may propose a tiny settlement to you. It follows from this that you should have an expert witness on your side so that they can help you build on your case and extinguish whatever challenge that the at-fault party may seek to bring about.

It follows from the above that the consequences of needing an expert witness may include your claim being unsuccessful or that your claim may need to result in a sufficient amount of compensation. Therefore, you must engage an experienced personal injury lawyer who can assist you in finding an expert witness who is going to ensure that his or her testimony ensures that your claim is successful.

Seek Assistance in Engaging Expert Witnesses in California

If you are experiencing difficulties finding an expert witness for your personal injury case, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can assist you in finding one. Owing to our experience in dealing with personal injury claims, most of which require expert witnesses, we can help you find an expert witness who is a perfect fit for you. A competent expert witness shall make it easier for the opposing counsel to poke holes into your claim.

If you require any clarification or help concerning your case, we are available to help you. Our experienced personal injury lawyers shall answer all the questions and clarifications you might have about needing an expert witness during our free consultation. We shall also enable you to understand the issues and make informed decisions.

You can reach us via calls, messages, and emails through the contacts on our website. We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Contact us now.

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