Expert witnesses often seem to be the stuff of made for television courtroom dramas until you need one in real life. When you’re trying to settle a personal injury case, bringing in an expert witness can be the difference between winning and losing the case—but it could also make a big difference in the payout. Experts in a field don’t work for free, and being called upon to testify in a case is work. While they can only give their professional opinions and are not on any “side” in the case, calling one can be a difficult decision. Look at the perks and types and then decide if an expert witness will make a difference in your case.
The Perks of an Expert Witness
The perks of an expert witness is that they can help bridge the gap between the jury’s knowledge (assuming, of course, that you’ve chosen a jury trial for your personal injury proceeding) and the knowledge needed to understand the injury at hand. The most commonly brought in expert witnesses are medical experts and engineers. If you’re trying to hold a manufacturer responsible for the injury that you received due to a faulty piece in their product, for example, an expert engineer could be called to explain to the jury what the part was supposed to do and how it failed to do that in your case.
Expert witnesses often sound very impressive to a jury. Part of their introduction involves their credentials, which could include where they went to school and any relevant experience that they have. Some injury lawyers in Etobicoke prefer to bring in an expert
witness whenever possible just because they like the weight that it adds to their case. Here, we prefer to use them as a tool: good to have at hand when someone has the need of it, but not something that is useful in every circumstance. A good, solid case should stand on its own without an expert to lend weight to your evidence.
Should You Pick a Retained or Non-retained Witness
If you’ve decided that your case would benefit from someone to explain it or present evidence, you have to decide between retained and non-retained. A retained witness is someone with no personal involvement with the case or knowledge of your life. They were contacted to help prepare the case because they are an expert in their field. Most witnesses are of this type; as personal injury lawyers go, Etobicoke locals prefer the respectability of having no ties. This is especially useful for engineers and mechanics who should have no tie to you.
A non-retained witness is a witness who knew you before the incident in some capacity. The most common non-retained witness is a doctor. Say you have a spinal condition, but you also injured your spine in an accident; your own doctor could provide records and expert testimony on what was damages from the accident and what was the condition you’ve been living with before then.