While most claimants understand the importance of having a seasoned Altoona auto accident attorney, many may not realize that expert testimony is also essential. Having expert witnesses in Altoona car accident cases is highly recommended to help with establishing liability and damages. If you or a loved one were injured in a vehicle wreck, it is highly advisable to seek legal representation who could help you find reliable and credible specialist to testify on your behalf.
Under the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence, a typical witness can only testify about things he or she has actually seen or heard. For instance, an eyewitness who saw the accident while walking down the street can testify about where vehicles were positioned, what color the light was, and what the weather was like.
An eyewitness cannot give opinions that get into technical matters, such as speed, force of impact or catastrophic injuries. An expert witness is a person who has specialized training or knowledge on the subject matter that is involved.
If a case requires an opinion on what injuries and diagnoses the plaintiff had, that requires a doctor or other health care professional with training and credentials in that field. For an issue regarding how an accident occurred in terms of speed, braking, or stopping distance, a plaintiff may obtain an engineer who can explain to the jury how the collision occurred based on his or her professional training and experience.
The evidence rules require that a person has the training or experience sufficient to educate the jury on whatever subject is at issue. This means that the experience needed to be qualified as an expert depends upon the factual circumstances that are involved in the car accident.
For example, with a medical issue, one person that may be qualified to testify about a diagnosis or prognosis is a doctor who has a medical degree. Professional licenses, however, are not always required. For example, with a mechanical issue, someone with substantial experience working as a vehicle mechanic may be able to be qualified as an expert even without a formal degree or license.
Other potential expert witnesses include:
The plaintiff and the defendant will both present an expert on the subject is at issue. If the issue is the plaintiff’s injuries, his or her doctor may be asked to testify to the severity of the harm and the need for future treatment. On the other hand, the defense’s expert will likely try to minimize the injury or treatment. It is up to the jury to decide which expert to believe.
How much weight a specialist’s testimony holds is often based upon his or her credibility. That is where expert’s bias can come into play. For instance, the defendant’s expert is usually somebody who has never treated the patient. A plaintiff might try to show that the defense’s expert is biased because he or she was hired just for this case. By the same token, that the defense will try to point out that the plaintiff’s expert is being compensated for his or her time.
For this reason, it is important for someone injured in a car wreck to work with a local expert who has built up his or her credibility in the community. Reliable testimony can make a significant impact on a claimant’s case.
The benefit of expert witnesses in Altoona car accident cases is unmatched. However, it is vital to work with a seasoned legal professional to ensure that this testimony is credible and reliable. Call the office of Marcus & Mack to schedule your initial case consultation for free.