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Why Use Experts in a Personal Injury Trial?

Five reasons expert witnesses can make a difference

If a personal injury case goes to trial, the cost of experts will almost certainly be part of the expenses of the case. There are many reasons that PI attorneys use expert witnesses in trials, and they are almost always worth it. The reasons include:

They know the field - that's why they are experts. Whether it's engineering or medicine or chemistry witnesses who can explain the details of an injury or accident from their particular knowledge can be very persuasive.

  • They are independent. If a plaintiff's attorney tells a jury how an accident happened or how a medical mistake occurred, the jury could rightly think that the attorney was biased. But experts are supposed to be impartial, telling the story based on their knowledge.
  • They can tell you what happened and why. In a medical malpractice case, an expert can describe how the defendant failed to provide the accepted standard of care. In a car accident case, a traffic engineer can describe the road conditions caused by negligent maintenance.
  • They can anticipate what will happen as a result of the accident. Especially in the medical field, experts can predict things such as future medical costs, degree of recovery, ability to work and the degree to which the long-term results of an injury will affect the victim's life. A vocational expert can discuss the way your injury will force you to accept lower paying work, lowering your income and affecting your sense of self-worth. An economist can calculate how much your injury will cost over your lifetime, not just today.
  • They can act as a counter to allegations that you are making things seem much worse than they really are. The defense and its insurance company will say and do almost anything in their effort to pay you less - or nothing at all. It's important to have someone accepted as an expert to prove that your injuries are real and have consequences. Expert witnesses can do this and provide the jury with another view of the case.

If your case does go to trial, it is important to know whether your attorney intends to use experts and what they might cost. Experts are almost always worth the price, but it is better to know ahead of time so that you are not surprised when the award check arrives.