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What Is an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case?

October 30, 2020

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a car accident caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another driver, there may be various types of compensation available for your claim. However, car accident cases can become incredibly complicated, particularly when working to determine liability. The first thing you need to consider after sustaining a car accident injury is securing assistance from a skilled Lexington car accident attorney. One route that an attorney may take for your case, depending on the level of complexity of the situation, is to employee assistance of an expert witness. Here, we want to discuss the role of expert witnesses in car accident cases.

What Is an Expert Witness?

Most people have heard of expert witnesses in the media, though they typically hear of them being involved in high-stakes or complex court cases. For example, there are often expert psychological witnesses called to testify on behalf of various parties involved in murder cases. A DNA expert will likely be involved cases involving violent crime such as murder or rape. What many people do not know is that expert witnesses can also play a role in car accident cases.

It is important to distinguish between an “expert witness” and an “eyewitness.” An eyewitness in a car accident case is simply a person who sees the incident occur. These individuals can provide testimony about the cause of the crash, the road and weather conditions at the time the incident occurred, and who they think was at fault for the incident.

Expert witnesses come into the case after the collision has occurred. The purpose of an expert witness is to help attorneys, judges, and members of the jury understand relatively complicated concepts that fall beyond general knowledge.

The Role of an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case

Not every vehicle accident claim needs an expert witness. However, there are certainly times when an expert witness may be needed for an auto collision. Automobile accidents revolve around determining fault. While most vehicle accidents are fairly straightforward, and fault is determined relatively easily, some car accidents become extremely technical.

  • Auto accidents involve highly complex machinery (automobiles) and the roadway (which itself a complex engineering project).
  • Car accidents can also involve issues related to science, such as the impact of weather conditions on the roadway.
  • Mathematics may be involved in these cases, including the measuring of skid marks to determine brake usage, or lack thereof.

Expert witnesses may be called to testify on any range of complicated details pertaining to the vehicle accident. In doing so, these witnesses will help all parties involved understand what caused the incident.

Will an Expert Witness Benefit Your Case?

Ultimately, your attorney will be the one to determine whether or not an expert witness will be beneficial for your case. There are various factors that need to be discussed concerning expert witnesses, including the overall value of your case. Expert witnesses do cost money to hire and use, but this cost can be offset by any compensation awarded in the case, particularly if the total damages awarded are expected to be significant. It is important to keep in mind that both sides are allowed to hire and call expert witnesses to testify. If the opposing party is using an expert witness against you, it may be necessary for you and your attorney to work with an expert witness to counter the other expert witness’s testimony.