In a car accident case in Texas, it is up to you (or your attorney) as the injured victim to establish someone else’s fault based on evidence. There are many forms of evidence, including documentation and photographs. One of the most compelling types of evidence, however, is testimony from an expert witness.
What Is an Expert Witness? Who Qualifies as an Expert?
An expert witness is someone brought into a car accident or personal injury case to testify using special knowledge of a relevant subject. In an injury claim, for example, a medical expert witness may be necessary to explain the nature of the victim’s injuries to a jury, and how they will most likely impact the victim.
An expert witness is someone with the experience, training and education to be an expert on the subject at hand. Thus, his or her testimony is accepted as an accurate account. There are many different types of expert witnesses who may be called upon to testify in a car accident case, including:
- Physicians and medical professionals
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation specialists
- Psychologists or psychiatrists
- Car accident reconstructionists
- Highway safety experts
- Economists and financial experts
- Accountants and forensic accountants
The parameters of who qualifies as an expert witness depend on state and federal rules of evidence. According to federal law, an expert witness is someone qualified to speak on a specialized subject due to his or her knowledge, education, skill, training or on-the-job experience. It is typically someone who currently has a career or is a teacher in the field.
What Is the Role of an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case?
When hired to testify during a car accident case, an expert witness explains complex matters that the average person would not know to the jury, such as the mechanics of an injury or what happens inside of the cab of a vehicle in a motor vehicle accident. An expert witness will give his or her professional opinion on a matter pertaining to the injury claim, such as the medical probability of the victim making a full recovery or an opinion as to what caused the crash.
An expert can help establish the facts of a car accident case and explain key concepts to a jury in a way that a layperson can understand. Testimony from an expert can provide a logical explanation of who or what caused the car accident, as well as prove your injuries and losses. Whether or not you need to hire an expert witness for your car accident case in Dallas depends on the specific details.
Do You Need an Expert Witness?
A car accident attorney can review your case to determine whether or not it would benefit from testimony from an expert witness. If so, the attorney and law firm will have connections to qualified expert witnesses in Texas who can testify on your behalf. Car accident cases that typically need expert witnesses are those with significant or catastrophic injuries, where the victim has a lot at stake. A minor car accident claim, on the other hand, may not justify the resources spent on hiring an expert witness.
How Much Does an Expert Witness Cost?
Expert witnesses often charge high fees to pay for their time and energy. The exact amount it takes to hire an expert witness depends on the individual expert and the amount of work he or she is expected to perform on your case. Most experts work for an hourly rate. The average hourly fee for a medical expert is $500 per hour. Nonmedical experts typically charge about $250 per hour. There are often different rates for paperwork and reviews compared to testifying in court.
For more information about expert witnesses, and to find out if your car accident case could benefit from hiring one, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.