Archives for March 2015

Preparing a Legal Expert Witness For Trial: A Few Basics

The importance of expert witness testimony at a trial cannot be overstated, but the cost of retaining such an expert also highlights the importance of properly preparing the witness for trial. In order to get the most out of an expert witness, your attorney should be careful in preparing this individual for trial.

Your legal expert witness should be well versed in the legal elements within the case, any exhibits or other testimony that is going to be presented, and also with the kinds of questions that your attorney will be asking. Preparing for the questioning from your own attorney is just as important as preparing for the possible line of questioning from the other attorney.

The expert witness must be familiar with the legal elements of your case in order to make the connection between the groundwork laid by your attorney and what statements, if any, can be used to support your side of the case.

A good deal of the testimony portion in court will be devoted to establishing the expert’s credentials. This is essential for establishing the individual’s competency to speak in the case and it can also be very helpful for building credibility with a jury.

Make sure that you select someone who is both experienced, competent, and of the same opinions as you and your attorney. Putting together witness testimony is a vital part of presenting your case, so approach it thoughtfully.

Handling the “Yes or No” Question: How An Experienced Expert Witness Can Combat Challenges

One of the most challenging parts of working with a highly qualified expert witness in the legal field is that the other side is likely to try to “trap” him or her using the famous “yes or no” questions. On cross examination or a deposition, an expert witness is likely to be asked these types of questions because the other side believes that such a short answer either supports their case or undermines yours.

There are many ways to avoid such a predicament, so long as your legal expert witness is familiar with the options. An individual with experience can likely identify such an experience and respond in a way that addresses the question but also the ambiguity of the situation. One such example might be a response stating “I understand that this is a yes or no question, but answering it could be misleading to the court as it’s an incomplete answer.” Another option would be for the expert witness to answer truthfully with a “yes” or “no” followed by “under specific conditions”.

The bottom line is that it is important to work with a legal expert witness who will not be thrown off by the tactics used by the other side. Instead, a true professional will remain calm and present his or her points clearly, leading to the support of your case. Expert witness selection is a vital stage of your case and one that should be approached with caution.

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