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Common Types of Expert Witnesses in Car Accident Cases

Updated on: 9/18/2018

If you are injured in a car accident caused by another person or entity, you have certain legal rights that may entitle you to recover financial compensation to make up for your personal injuries, incurred medical costs, and other damages such as pain and suffering or a loss of essential services.

In many cases, you may be able to handle and successfully resolve your injury claim on your own, without the assistance of a car accident lawyer. However, if you have been seriously hurt and require significant medical treatment to recover from your injuries, your claim may become more complex and an attorney’s assistance may be worth the investment.

Hiring an Attorney Can Change the Process

If you have been injured badly enough to require the assistance of an attorney, you may also need to prepare for your case to go to trial. Of course, it is in the best interests of all parties involved in a personal injury or wrongful death case to come to a settlement agreement before the case proceeds all the way to court.

In order to get the best result possible, however, it is sometimes necessary to take the case to a jury trial – or at least prepare the case for a possible trial in order to put more pressure on the insurance company to make a fair offer.

If your attorney is preparing the case for trial, there are a few important stages of preparation that are important for the attorney and his or her legal team to ensure the case is strong. After the initial investigation has been completed and all necessary evidence has been recovered and preserved, an experienced attorney will often begin to hire certain types of experts to provide testimony which supports your case.

From a legal standpoint, these experts are officially called expert witnesses. Common types of expert witnesses in a car accident case include: 

  • Economist: When a large settlement amount is proposed covering a long amount of time, an economist may be asked to testify as to how they arrived at a calculation for future losses.
  • Accident reconstructionist: This type of expert has an extensive knowledge of how car accidents occur and the factors involved. They will reconstruct the accident and provide reports on a vehicle’s speed, acceleration, right-of-way, braking, steering angles, etc.
  • Roadway design expert: Where and how the accident occurred may be the key to the case. A roadway design expert can determine if the road’s design was a factor in the crash.
  • Doctors: A victim’s medical doctors and physicians may be asked to review the facts of the case and clarify all relevant medical questions. They may also be asked to determine any future medical care.
  • Vocational expert: If a car accident injury affects a victim’s ability to perform a job, a vocational expert can testify to the types of jobs that are now available to the victim. They can also determine a victim’s decreased earning capacity due to the injury.
  • Psychologist/Neuropsychologist: Accidents that result in psychological or emotional distress may require the services of a mental health expert to testify as to how the victim has been affected emotionally and mentally.

For example, if a car accident occurs on a roadway that has a design flaw or is missing certain safety features which could have somehow prevented the collision, your attorney may hire a roadway design expert to testify to the facts that are relevant to the accident.

The expert witness’ testimony could convince a jury to hold another party liable and grant you a positive outcome for your case, or it could put additional pressure on the at-fault party’s insurance company to settle your case before trial occurs. Either way, the expert witness’ testimony will have strengthened your case and put you in a favorable legal position.

Consult an Attorney to Determine the Best Approach

Not all cases are complex enough to justify or warrant the hiring of expert witnesses. In minor accidents involving less serious injuries, it may not be worth the investment to hire an expert witness to support your claim. However, when serious injuries and costly medical bills are on the line, the value provided by an expert witness to prove your case is usually worth the cost.

It is often in a person’s best interests to consult with an experienced car accident attorney about their legal rights and options after an accident. Most personal injury law firms – including Davis Law Group, P.S. – offer free legal consultations to people who have been injured through no fault of their own. Call (206) 727-4000 or use the confidential contact form on this page to get started with your free case review.  

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.
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