What Is an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case?

November 20, 2020

An expert witness can be invaluable during a car accident case in Arizona. Expert witnesses can provide key information about a critical aspect of a case, such as a plaintiff’s injuries. If you have serious injuries from a car accident in Phoenix, you could benefit from hiring an expert witness to testify on your behalf during your injury claim. Whether or not you need an expert witness is something a Phoenix car accident lawyer can help you decide.

What Is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is someone hired specifically to assist with the claims process. It is a professional qualified to act as an expert witness due to his or her expertise in a specific area, such as personal injuries or the mechanics of a car accident. Expert witnesses testify during car accident cases to help a judge and jury understand complex, highly technical or nuanced issues related to the case. They are hired after a car accident occurs, typically through a car accident attorney. Expert witnesses can have many specialties and professions. The right expert will depend on the circumstances of the case.

  • Doctor or surgeon
  • Chiropractor or physical therapist
  • Mental health expert
  • Accident reconstructionist
  • Traffic safety expert
  • Economist
  • Vocational expert
  • Cellphone records specialist
  • Engineer

An expert witness is not an eyewitness. An expert witness is a professional with training and experience in a certain subject relevant to your car accident case. An eyewitness, on the other hand, is someone present at the scene of your collision. An expert witness will have information based on his or her career or training on topics relevant to your case. An eyewitness will have information from what he or she saw at the time of the wreck, such as road conditions, vehicle speeds and other important details. Both expert witnesses and eyewitnesses can be important for a car accident case in Phoenix.

When Do You Need an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is not a requirement during a car accident case in Arizona. It is a professional your lawyer can hire if he or she believes doing so will help your case. If your car accident claim goes to trial, an expert witness can provide key testimony as to how and why your car accident occurred, your personal injuries and how they will affect you, how your injuries will impact your ability to work, and other key issues of your case. You do not need to hire a witness to bring an injury lawsuit in Arizona, however.

Whether or not you need an expert witness during your car accident case depends on the circumstances. In general, you could benefit from an expert witness if your car accident case involves topics that are complex or difficult to understand for the average person. A jury might not understand exactly how a permanent spinal cord injury will affect a patient, for example. An expert witness can provide insights using his or her special skills, knowledge, experience and education to help form the jury’s opinion.

How Much Does an Expert Witness Cost?

An expert witness could be the reason you win your car accident case. Having a qualified expert support your claim to damages could make all the difference to a judge or jury. The expert may convince a jury to award you greater pain and suffering damages, for example, based on how your injury will impact you for months or years to come.

Expert witnesses, however, are not free. The average expert charges between $245 and $500 per hour for services. Your lawyer may deduct the costs of an expert witness from a settlement or verdict won rather than asking you to pay out of pocket. Discuss your need for an expert witness, along with the projected costs, with an attorney for more information.