Importance of Having an Expert Witness on Your Side

What Does an Expert Witness Do?:

Expert witnesses not only provide accredited information about their area of expertise, they can also reasonably explain technical issues so jurors will understand the information. Their testimonies provide hard facts, science and educated opinions about their fields of study, in order to better illustrate how and why a crime was committed or how and why a crime couldn’t have been committed.

An expert testimony could be the defining aspect of a case that creates reasonable doubt, clarifies the facts and/or influences the court in your client’s favor.

 Types of Expert Witnesses:

Although expert witnesses can range in hundreds of different specialties and categories, there are only two main types for litigation purposes: testifying and non-testifying.

  • Testifying: testifying witnesses are those who actually give their testimonies in court, and are subject to examination and re-examination, questions and professional prying to prove credentials, by both councils. Their expertise and evidence are exposed within the courtroom and they must be able to professionally back up their opinions and justifications about the case, while also presenting themselves as comprehensive professionals.
  • Non-Testifying: non-testifying expert witnesses are generally brought in to review cases and document any discrepancies, errors or mistakes made in the case that deal with their area of expertise. Although their documentation will be used in court, they themselves do not need to testify.

How Do They Influence Case Verdicts?:

Having an expert in the specific field of debate, not only gives the juror hard data to consider, but also allows them to hear first hand accounts of how and why the issue being prosecuted occurred. Instead of hearing supposed facts, opinions and allegations from lawyers about a specific subject, the jury can hear specifics from an individual who not only studied the subject, but is a well respected expert in the field. Their knowledge as well as their experience with giving testimonies, give them a unique perspective on how to describe, educate and illustrate certain aspects of a case to the jury, that lawyers aren’t able to do. This attention to detail is what can help influence case verdicts.

For example, the following cases were won as a direct result of expert testimonies:

  • Zoloft MDL, whereupon a professor at the University of Montreal, who researches the effect of medications on pregnancy, testified about the differences and consequences of SSRI drugs such as Zoloft.
  • Texas vs. County Line Shooting Range, where a former Texas Department of Public Safety gun range master, testified that hundreds of bullets had been fired onto the neighboring property of the range, bringing to question the safety standards of the range itself
  • Texas vs. Matthew Aranda (Child Abuse Case), whereupon an expert witness and director of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, told the jury “If someone or something could cause her to be thrown or pushed down the staircase at a very high rate of speed, then that conceivably (could) cause some of those fatal injuries that she had,” ultimately convincing the jury of foul play.
  • O.J. Simpson Trial: the expert testimony of Henry Lee, one of the world’s foremost forensic scientist, was considered the turning point for Simpson’s defense

Have we convinced you that you need an expert witness? No, problem. With our easy to use database, you can browse for experienced witnesses in your area by simply choosing the category/practice area you need, or simply browse by State for exceptional experts near you.