Which Cases Require Expert Witnesses?

In some cases, such as medical malpractice cases, an expert witness’ testimony or report is required before a lawsuit may even be filed with the courts. In other cases, however, it is not clear when hiring an expert witness would be advantageous for your client’s case. Without an expert witness, a jury may not fully grasp the facts of the case. With too many expert witnesses, you risk the jury perceiving your case as one that is too weak to stand on its own. As an attorney, how do you balance these factors?

When the issues in your client’s case are especially complex, expert witness testimony will become essential. For example, in construction law cases that involve complicated theories of physics and engineering, an expert witness will be able to break these concepts down for the jury—and the judge. For simpler cases, for example, those involving a “fender bender,” expert witness testimony is likely not necessary.

If your client’s case involves a significant amount of damages, you will need to hire an expert witness. Expert witnesses are especially beneficial when the jury must decide an amount of damages that should be awarded to the plaintiff, should the plaintiff prevail. In cases involving future damages, or pain and suffering, in which there are no concrete numbers to draw an award from, an expert witness will assist the jury with deciding how to calculate such a number.

Essentially, if the success of your client’s case depends on theories or principles that would not be automatically assumed by a judge or jury, hiring an expert to explain these important concepts in the courtroom will be necessary. Your client may not be happy with the expenses an expert necessitates, but you must explain the value of the expert’s testimony for your client’s case.

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