The work of an expert witness is sometimes highly specialised, taking into account the particular field in which they are trained. These professionals are typically trained to analyse evidence and provide their opinions to a judge or jury. They can also provide testimony relating to matters such as construction, accident reconstruction, mechanical engineering, medical diagnoses, electronics engineering and many more.
Our legal system relies on these specialists because their training often exceeds that of general practitioners who may not have extensive knowledge of certain fields. For this reason, many courts will choose to hire an expert witness if the cases involve complex or unfamiliar topics which jurors could not comprehend without professional assistance.
What does an expert witness do?
Expert witnesses are objective and will provide opinions regardless of what they think their client wants them to say. Experts, whether paid or a volunteer, will generally use all factual information available and consider relevant questions but will not allow their own beliefs, personal feelings or prejudices to interfere with their objective appraisal.
How will you benefit from using an expert witness?
An expert witness has experience within their industry, and therefore, if your case is complex or you want an opinion regarding an area that is unfamiliar, then you will benefit from using an expert witness.
For example, how do you determine the full implications after an accident? It is feasible that a pain expert witness can support their client by testifying about the implications of a long-term chronic condition caused by an accident.
Expert witnesses are often called upon to testify in court because they have extensive knowledge about an incident under investigation, so it’s important to know what kind of track record this individual has within the legal community.
What areas do expert witnesses cover?
Expert witnesses may be required to provide their opinion on a range of issues, from medical matters to construction practices. They will provide opinions regarding accident investigations, health matters, engineering, psychology and even finance matters.
Who can use an expert witness?
Expert witnesses are often called upon in cases that involve complex or technical matters which typically fall outside the scope of jurors’ understanding or where specialised jury instruction would be beneficial. Expert witnesses can be called by either the defence or the prosecution – it is worth restating that the expert witness will provide unbiased information.
What qualifications do expert witnesses need?
As such, there are no formal qualifications needed to be an expert witness. It is a function of the court to determine whether an individual qualifies as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education.
It is important to remember that an expert witness has an overriding duty to the court. Expert witnesses should remain objective and shouldn’t allow their personal opinion, or what their client wants, to affect their testimony. The use of expert witnesses ensures that the legal system upholds the integrity of evidence and that each side receives equal treatment.