After being involved in a car accident, you will likely find yourself dealing with the overwhelming consequences and aftermath of the accident. This may include talking with insurance companies, meeting with your car accident lawyer, getting medical treatment, and visiting auto repair shops. Although you might feel lost and hopeless during this time, your lawyer has several tools and resources to help you succeed, which includes the expert witness.
The different types of expert witnesses
An expert witness is defined as “a person with specialized knowledge, skills, education, or experience in a particular field who is called upon to provide their expertise in legal proceedings to assist the court with understanding complex technical or scientific issues.” Expert witnesses are any individual who has professional training, education, or experience in a certain subject. A few different types of expert witnesses and their distinctive roles in a car accident case include:
- Doctor or physician: Doctors or physicians used as expert witnesses can explain your car accident injuries to help the jury or judge understand them better. Their expert witness statement will provide insight into how exactly your injuries may affect your daily life currently as well as your quality of life going forward. In addition, doctors or physicians can also explain what types of complications or long-term consequences your injuries cause. For example, if you have a spinal cord injury from the car accident, the doctor can elaborate on how the spinal cord injury causes you to experience muscle weakness, chronic pain, paralysis, numbness, and other complications.
- Accident reconstruction specialist: Many people may have never heard of an accident reconstruction specialist, but these experts are vital to a car accident case. They help describe the events that took place leading up to your accident. For example, an accident reconstruction specialist may be able to explain that a driver was speeding or drinking and driving, which caused your crash. Accident reconstruction specialists are known to get creative when giving their statements, recreating scenes and using physical models that show what exactly occurred before and during your accident. If certain factors are uncertain, these professionals can also give an estimate based on their knowledge and experience.
- Psychologist or counselor: In Oklahoma City car accident cases, you may claim pain and suffering as losses from your accident. This means that you are stating that you have physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering from the accident. However, in order to increase your chances of being awarded damages for your mental and emotional trauma, your attorney may recommend hiring a psychologist or counselor as an expert witness. The psychologist or counselor used as an expert witness has a role to explain how your car accident and injuries have affected your mental health. For example, if you were involved in a head-on collision and suffered a broken jawbone, lost several teeth, and experienced vision loss, your confidence and self-esteem was most likely impacted. You no longer want to go out in public or spend time with your friends because you fear being judged. A psychologist or counselor must give their perspective on how this car accident impacted your mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Highway or road expert: If your accident was caused by the conditions of the road, a highway or road expert may be hired to give a statement. Highway experts can provide details about how road debris, potholes, or even slippery conditions on the road caused your accident. This is very important for the court to understand how a road owner or road maintenance crew is responsible for your accident and injuries.
- Financial expert: Financial experts are who your attorney may call on to assist with determining and proving how much compensation you should receive. The court may not understand why your attorney is asking for a specific compensation amount, which is where a financial expert steps in and explains why the requested compensation is fair and accurate for your injuries and losses. For example, a financial expert has the ability to go over your auto mechanic fees, current and future medical expenses, and the wages you have already lost and will continue to lose. While the court may be confused about this, a financial expert will break down everything for them, providing a clear image of how much money you need to pay for everything and rebuild your life again.
The four goals that expert witnesses have in Oklahoma City car accident cases
Expert witnesses do not give their personal opinions or try to persuade the judge or jury to take your side. Instead, they provide an educated and knowledgeable statement about your case and the car accident that you experienced. However, during their statement, they have a few goals that they are trying to meet. Here are four of these goals:
- Make sense of complex and technical terms and factors: Car accidents can be very complex and involve a lot of technical details. Therefore, it is the goal of the expert witness to explain exactly how the accident occurred, which may involve describing speed, weather, location, events, reckless driving, car parts, and any other technical terms and factors.
- Show who is liable: In some accidents, it is very difficult to establish liability. Therefore, an expert witness has a goal to explain the events that took place, showing that one or multiple parties are liable for the accident.
- Prove that the compensation you are asking for is fair: The defendant’s legal team may believe that the compensation you are asking for is too much for the losses you suffered. However, an expert witness can step in and show how much everything is costing you, proving that the amount you are requesting is actually reasonable.
- Add credibility to your case: Hiring an expert witness is a great way to provide credibility to your case. Your expert witness will show that they are knowledgeable, educated, and experienced when it comes to a variety of car accidents or injuries, verifying that everything you have mentioned is factual.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers know that car accident cases are very difficult to navigate. We are prepared to hire the right types of expert witnesses to ultimately strengthen and benefit your claim. Instead of worrying about how to convince the court to believe your side of the story, you should be concentrating on healing from your injuries. Our team has your best interests in mind, and you can trust us to use effective tools and resources to fight for the compensation you need and deserve to get back on your feet after the accident. Fill out our contact form or call our office to begin discussing with our attorneys today.
Marcus P. Mears is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Mears is committed to helping Oklahoma’s injured victims in the areas of injury law and insurance litigation. Mr. Mears was selected to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for his work as lead counsel in multiple seven figure injury cases. Learn More