It’s a common misconception that you need to practice for at least 10,000 hours in a given field before you’re considered an expert. While the saying is incorrect, it does take a lot of hard work and dedication to become an expert.
For this reason, utilizing an expert witness in a court case can be a powerful tool. The right expert witness can make your case stronger while the wrong one can make it weaker.
In this article, we answer questions like, ‘what is an expert witness.’ Then, we offer our best expert witness guide so you know not only how to find an expert witness, but why you need one. Continue reading if you want to strengthen your next case.
What Is An Expert Witness?
An expert witness is an individual with extensive knowledge and/or experience in a particular subject. They are considered an authority on the topic given this experience and knowledge.
As an authority on the subject in question, they offer their thoughts and answer questions posed by legal counsel or the judge overseeing the case. They’re not involved in the case in any way other than to give expert witness tips and testimony.
When to Use An Expert Witness
Some legal cases are required to find an expert witness such as in the case of malpractice suits. An expert witness is also a valuable resource to help a jury understand complex or technical details in a case. This helps them make an informed decision.
How to Find an Expert Witness
An expert witness can make positive contributions to your argument and help solidify your case, but they can also ruin your case. That’s why it’s essential to do your research to find the most effective one for your case.
In order to find an expert witness, you should develop your own expert witness guide based on the details of your case. However, there are several important characteristics that apply when selecting any expert witnesses.
Having the right qualifications should be one of your first considerations when selecting an expert witness. The list of requirements for the selection of experts varies slightly between states as well as federal vs state courts.
Most require the individual to work in a profession with relevance to the case. They also must be considered especially knowledgeable, skilled, or have extensive experience.
What is an expert witness if they’re not credible? A thorough background check is an important part of working to find an expert witness.
Be sure to verify their credentials and check their criminal record. If an expert witness loses credibility during their testimony, your case can suffer for it since the judge and jury can’t trust the information provided.
Influential and Informative
One of our top expert witness tips is to select someone who is influential and informative. The best expert witnesses are able to share their vast knowledge in a way that makes sense to the judge and jury. They can ‘teach’ well.
It’s also best if they possess likeability and have an overall friendly demeanor. This combination of knowledge, clear information, and likeability strengthens the response of the audience to your witness.
Even the most knowledgeable expert witnesses can have little impact or a negative impact on your case. This can happen if the jury doesn’t feel as though they can trust your witness or they don’t understand the testimony.
The expert witness you choose for your case should not only work in a field that’s relevant to the case, they should work in a field that brings the best support to the case.
For example, a case involving mental illness may be served well by an expert witness in the field. However, a psychologist or psychiatrist may hold more weight with the judge and jury than an unlicensed counselor.
How to Hire an Expert Witness
Once you’ve created your expert witness guide, completed your research, and found the right person for the job, you’re ready to reach out to them.
One of our top expert witness tips involves contracts. Before making any hires, you should enter into a contract with them. Details for the contract include payment and instructions.
Once the witness is retained, you’ll need to keep them updated on the details of the case. Including important dates and locations is essential as well.
What to Expect From An Expert Witness
Unlike other witnesses who can only comment on their specific experience, expert witnesses can draw conclusions and offer their opinions. However, they cannot comment on anything outside of their realm of expertise.
They are required to follow specific instructions offered by the court in order to serve as a witness. Expert witnesses compile their opinion in a formal report that is provided to the judge and opposing counsel.
What Not to Expect From An Expert Witness
Even if their opinions are in favor of your case, it’s important to remember that the opinion of an expert witness must be honest and impartial. Their duty is to the court, not to the legal counsel that retained their services.
The expert witness cannot serve as an advocate for your legal case or provide any advice or recommendations to you.
If they have any relationship to the case or anyone involved in it. Otherwise, it is considered a conflict of interest and they cannot serve as an expert witness.
An Expert Witness Can Make a Difference
An expert witness can make all the difference in your case if you know how to choose the right person for the job.
What is an expert witness if they’re not qualified and trustworthy? They’re ineffectual, which is why you need to develop an expert witness guide for your legal case.
Contact us today and let us find the right expert witness for your next case.