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What Is the Purpose of an Expert Witness

Courtroom interior, trial. Judge, lawyers, jury, law and justice

Expert witnesses are a vital component of many legal claims and defenses. Whether you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, a civil rights case, a medical malpractice suit, or even commercial litigation, scientific or technical expertise can become invaluable in proving your claims and/or defending your client. Below we discuss the primary functions of the expert witness. Reach out to a seasoned medical expert witness with any additional questions or for help with a legal matter.

Providing Testimony

The principal function of an expert witness is to provide testimony to the judge and jury. As explained in the various state and federal rules of evidence, an expert’s purpose is to clarify, explain, and provide opinions on complex matters that the average person would not necessarily understand. Experts are retained to delve into, analyze, translate, and opine upon matters that require scientific, technical, or otherwise specialized expertise to understand.

Experts can be used to take technical jargon and complex research and explain what it means to the jury and others involved in the case. Experts can analyze data and facts in evidence in order to provide an opinion as to what they do or could mean. They can also be called upon to conduct their own research pertinent to the case in order to answer questions in dispute.

Evidence Gathering and Analysis

While the primary legal function of an expert witness is to analyze and explain technical concepts for the jury, as a practical matter, expert witnesses can be extremely useful throughout the case. An expert witness is a fount of knowledge and understanding about a scientific or technical matter pertinent to your case. Their expertise can be utilized at all stages of litigation.

Before you even file the lawsuit, for example, if your case involves allegations of a scientific or technical nature, it’s wise to consult with an expert witness. Your expert can analyze the limited facts you have pre-discovery to evaluate whether you have a case and, if so, how strong and how lucrative the case may be. In many states, filing a medical malpractice claim requires attaching a medical expert’s declaration that there’s a case to be made.

During discovery, your expert witness can help you evaluate and understand the evidence you’re collecting as you build your case. The expert can educate the legal team much as they would the jury, so you know what you are reading and how to use it. Moreover, the expert can help you craft your discovery requests and your document analysis to unearth the most pertinent information; as their understanding of the case grows, they’ll have a professional understanding of what evidence is missing and where to find it.

Rebuttal and Settlement Negotiations

At the later stages of litigation, your expert witness can help you hone your case to its sharpest elements and strongest arguments. An expert witness can be used to rebut the opposing party’s expert to strengthen your case, weaken theirs, and shore up any holes.

Additionally, once you have entered settlement talks, an expert can help you present an accurate assessment of the case. The expert can address the strengths of each side’s arguments as well as evaluate potential damages, depending upon the nature of the case and the expert.

If you need a professional, experienced, and comprehensive expert witness in a personal injury, medical malpractice, or product liability case, contact the offices of Neurosurgery MedLegal Services, LLC, at 866-659-8051.

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