Using Experts to Make Your Case
Trials and the many steps that lead up to them are designed to bring out the facts. In many cases, this can be fairly straightforward. Did the blue car run the red light? What do the witnesses have to say? However, what if the fact in dispute is something that is not readily observable like the existence of a medical condition or the slipperiness of a floor? What if no one but the parties actually witnessed the accident and they disagree on what happened? In cases such as these, attorneys must call on reliable expert witnesses to clarify and fill in the gaps for the jury.
Expert witnesses can play a critical role in many types of personal injury litigation. Under Pennsylvania’s Rules of Evidence, experts are permitted to testify whenever their specialized knowledge would be helpful as long as their methodologies are generally accepted. While the requirements of every case are different, the testimony of different types of experts may be helpful or even necessary under a variety of circumstances:
- Doctors can establish that a claimed physical condition exists and was caused by the accident.
- Vocational consultants can discuss the degree to which an injury prevents the victim from working.
- Engineers or safety experts can identify unsafe building conditions that brought about the injury.
- Accident reconstructionists can describe how an accident occurred when there are no reliable witnesses available.
The ability to work with compelling and respected expert witnesses is often crucial to an attorney’s success. An effective Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer can determine what types of technical testimony a case needs and then identify the most appropriate experts to fill those roles.