personal injury expert witness

The Importance of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases

By Greg Kohn

You might wonder why some personal injury trials use expert witnesses, and others do not. Expert witnesses can add to the cost of litigation, but sometimes, they are worth their weight in gold. If your personal injury case involves highly technical or specialized issues that a layperson (not an expert) would need help understanding, your case might be a candidate for using an expert.

You can talk with a New Jersey personal injury attorney about the importance of expert witnesses in personal injury cases. We can handle your personal injury claim for you so that you can focus on rebuilding your life.

An Overview of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses have special training, experience, or education that equips them to explain complicated concepts to the judge and jury during the trial. Unlike eyewitnesses, expert witnesses do not testify about what happened, for example, who caused the collision. 

An eyewitness might testify that one driver ran the red light and crashed into a pedestrian. An expert witness might take measurements, perform calculations, and testify that, based on their calculations, the driver was traveling 87 miles an hour when they ran the light and struck the walker.

Types of Expert Witnesses

There are many types of expert witnesses. The kind of expert you might need will depend on the unique issues of your personal injury case. 

  • Rehabilitation expert. People who have long-term impairments from personal injuries that limit their ability to make a living often seek to recover compensation from the at-fault party. When the defendant contests the impairment, the plaintiff might use a rehabilitation expert witness to explain why the injured person’s limitations impact their ability to make a living.
  • Medical expert. When there are medical questions about the plaintiff’s injuries, they might hire a medical expert to explain those issues and answer questions that the judge or jury might have. 
  • Engineering experts. An engineering expert could testify about why a particular product failed or had a design flaw that made it dangerous.

These examples are merely a few of the many types of expert witnesses that could get called to testify at a personal injury trial. 

Why Expert Witnesses Are Important in Personal Injury Cases

If the jury cannot understand the point your lawyer is trying to make, it will be difficult to convince them to vote in favor of awarding you money for your injuries. An expert witness can unravel the tricky issues and show the jury why they should rule in favor of you.

Of course, the defense lawyer will likely hire their own expert witness who will try to counter what your expert says. The jury will have to analyze the testimony and decide who to believe.

Because their testimony can be so powerful to the jury, attorneys usually try to prevent the other side’s expert from testifying. Before an expert can testify at trial, the judge must listen to the person’s credentials and determine whether they qualify as an expert. Often, the judge will limit the expert’s testimony to only a few topics.

You probably have questions about whether your case needs an expert witness. A New Jersey personal injury attorney would be happy to talk to you about your injury case at no charge. Reach out to our office today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.