The Role Of An Expert Witness In Your Personal Injury Or Accident Case

Witnesses to an injury or accident include both the victim and any number of third parties. You and other individuals can testify as to the facts and events leading to the incident itself. There’s another set of individuals who can testify to more technical or scientific matters surrounding your case. These are the expert witnesses, and they play a critical role in your and your attorney’s work to win compensation.

The difference between an ordinary witness and an expert witness is primarily the information about which the person can testify. An ordinary witness can testify as to events he or she observed involving your injury or accident. Meanwhile, an expert witness can testify as to some specialized field of knowledge that could be relevant to your case. Rules of evidence generally prevent ordinary witnesses from testifying to expert witness matters.

A good example of when an expert witness may be helpful is an automobile accident involving an at-fault driver. The driver may deny he or she was negligent and try to blame the accident on someone or something else. An ordinary witness can testify as to the chain of events leading to the accident. An expert witness can go further in application of his or her specialized knowledge and experience. He or she can analyze the accident scene and other information to demonstrate that the driver’s negligence was responsible for the incident.

These are some situations where your personal injury attorney may want an expert witness to help a jury understand your accident or injury:

  • How the accident or injury occurred
  • Who was responsible for the accident or injury
  • The negligence, or degree of negligence, of the responsible party
  • How the accident or injury might have been prevented
  • What sort of physical or emotional injuries were sustained in the accident
  • The long-term forecast of the injuries

Ordinary witnesses can testify to facts that are readily detectable by one’s senses. These include sights, sounds, smells, and more. Expert witnesses may testify to matters that are not as apparent. He or she can explain certain theories in a case that lay out the plaintiff’s or defendant’s position. For example, a medical expert can testify how a victim’s injuries from a car crash revealed themselves over time. This may be helpful in a case where the victim is trying to recover compensation for long-term treatment.

These are some examples of specific types of expert witnesses and what they may testify about in court:

Medical experts. These individuals will explain the extent of the victim’s injuries and the recovery process, among other things. Defendants tend to dispute the cost and necessity of treatments, so a medical expert will prove vital. Among these experts are medical examiners, surgeons, and rehabilitation specialists.

Accident reconstruction experts. These specialists demonstrate certain details that took place during the accident or injury itself. For instance, they can show the speed or trajectory of the vehicle that struck the victim. The accident reconstruction expert, therefore, helps establish liability and negligence.

Vocational experts. A vocational expert witness can explain how a victim’s job performance will be affected by his or her injuries. One purpose of compensation is to make up for the victim’s lost capacity to work. Experts quantify and explain that lost capacity.

Numerous other experts exist, and your attorney will discuss the different witnesses you may need.


A major part of your accident or injury case is testimony concerning what actually happened. However, this is usually not enough to get the compensation you deserve. The defendant will try to poke holes in your theory or argue a competing view of what took place. You need qualified expert witnesses who can clarify the facts for a jury. The personal injury attorneys at Hammers Law Firm have experience in selecting the experts you need to win. Contact us today about your case.