After an accident or serious injury, victims may face significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Fortunately, Delaware's personal injury laws give victims of negligence the ability to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and pursue compensation for damages related to the accident or injury.
While many personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement offer long before going to trial, others make it all the way into the courtroom, where receiving a receiving a monetary award hinges on whether the plaintiff and their attorney can prove their case “by a preponderance of evidence.”
Plaintiffs who have strong cases that are supported by evidence have a much better chance of receiving financial compensation for their injuries and losses. When presenting the case to the judge and jury, attorneys rely heavily on physical evidence, photographic evidence, detailed medical records, and statements or testimony from eyewitnesses.
Attorneys may also use testimony from expert witnesses to help strengthen the claims in their client's lawsuit. An expert witness is a professional who uses their specialized knowledge, education, training and experience to provide insight into a particular aspect of the case.
How Expert Witnesses Can Help
There are a number of ways that expert witness reports and testimony can help personal injury plaintiffs. Most importantly, they can lend credence to the plaintiff's claims or refute false claims made by the defense.
Expert witnesses paint a clearer picture of what happened for both judges and juries. After examining the available evidence and applying their expertise, expert witnesses can give their opinion of what most likely happened.
In addition to their value on the stand, expert witnesses can also be extremely helpful behind the scenes. For example, they can point out any weaknesses in the case and offer defensive strategies. Sometimes, just hearing that the plaintiff has obtained an expert witness, or reading the expert's official report, is enough to convince the defense that it is time to settle.
Types of Expert Witnesses
In most cases, expert witnesses are called upon to offer opinions on the cause of an accident, or the severity or the effects of the injuries. While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different kinds of expert witnesses, in personal injury cases, some of the most commonly used expert witnesses include:
- Car accident reconstructionists: In car accident cases where fault is in dispute, a car crash reconstructionist can use the available evidence to reconstruct the crash and offer information on things like the speed of the collision, braking, steering angles and more.
- Medical doctors: Family physicians or general practitioners can discuss the injuries the plaintiff sustained in the crash and answer any relevant medical questions.
- Medical specialists: Specialists such as surgeons, neurologists and pain management specialists can provide testify about the plaintiff's diagnosis, prognosis, need for additional treatments and procedures, and pain relief options.
- Lifecare planner: In cases involving life-altering injuries, a life care planner is essential. This expert witness can, among other things, discuss disability management, and determine the plaintiff's long-term care needs and expenses.
- Manufacturing experts: In product liability cases, these experts can talk about how a poorly designed or defective product caused the injuries in question.
- Engineers: Used primarily in car accident and premises liability cases, engineers can provide information on poorly maintained roads or improper building construction.
- Economic experts: One of the most important types of expert witnesses in cases where plaintiffs are suing for the loss of earning potential, economic experts can testify about how the injuries sustained in the accident affect the plaintiff's finances, including lost wages due to an inability to work.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Were you seriously injured due to another person's negligence? If so, the experienced personal injury attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you build a strong case the may include the testimony of expert witnesses. For more information, or to schedule a free initial case consultation, contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today.