For many personal injury insurance claims, expert witnesses can provide insight, information and testimony. Claimants and their lawyers can enlist the services of case-appropriate professionals deemed experts in their field in order to demonstrate their claims or assist in litigation.
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Types of Expert Witnesses
The types of expert witness testimonies you obtain for your claim will depend the type of accident you were involved in, the nature of your injuries and the specific factors surrounding your case. Some cases require the use of several expert witnesses in order to prove your claim accurately and sufficiently.
Possible expert witnesses include:
- medical experts;
- rehabilitation specialists;
- mental health professionals;
- accident reconstructionists;
- engineers (chemical, electrical, mechanical, etc.);
- manufacturing professionals;
- social workers;
- insurance experts;
- forensic economists; and
- building inspectors.
The Potential Value of Expert Witness Testimonies
Expert witness testimonies can make or break some cases. They can explain technicalities and provide evidence to support your stance.
Experts have the ability to give professional, legally admissible facts regarding:
- accident causation; and
- the nature, extent of and validity of damages.
For instance, if a victim’s injuries are very severe or complicated, such as an acquired brain injury:
- surgeons and medical professionals may provide detailed insight into the nature of the injury and the future required treatment;
- mental and behavioral health experts may be able to testify as to the extent the injury has on emotional and psycho-social health;
- an accident reconstructionist could testify that the cause of the accident was the other party’s negligence;
- a life care planner can particularize and quantify your future care needs among other things; and
- a forensic economist or accountant may submit a testimony that estimates a dollar amount on the total damages sustained, including lost wages, future treatment and emotional damages.
Selecting an Expert Witness for an Insurance Claim
Your lawyer will be able to determine what type of specialist may be applicable to your case. When selecting experts to support your case, some of the qualities your lawyer might look for in prospects include:
- a high level of practitioner experience in their field;
- experience providing legal testimonies;
- authorship (being published in professional journal articles or books could increase credibility);
- teaching experience or a strong ability to explain complex concepts to laypersons; and
- qualifications that merit them as professionals.
Expert witnesses might be of value to your insurance claim, but they will need to abide strictly to their legal duties, as per the Rules of Civil Procedure. Their role is simply to present unbiased, substantiated evidence in a clear manner. They must remain impartial and make it clear when a particular issue or question is outside their area of expertise. If they sidestep their roles, their testimony may be nullified.
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Legal Counsel for your Ontario Insurance Claim
For questions about your rights or responsibilities or for help filing and substantiating your claim, call our personal injury professionals at the Preszler Law Firm in Ontario. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation: 1-800-JUSTICE®.