While some car accident claims are clear cut with few issues of disputes, this is often not the case. Even “minor” wrecks, such as a rear-end collision, where the drivers are driving at slow speeds can involve disputes as to whether the driver in the rear was at fault and the extent of the injuries the victim suffered. In these cases, the victim must prove his case to receive the damages he may be entitled to.
If the negligent driver’s insurance company is disputing your claim for compensation, you will want to hire an experienced car accident attorney who can help you hold the driver accountable. If your attorney has handled many of these cases successfully, he will understand when hiring an expert witness may be needed to prove a disputed issue. He should also have a network of witnesses that he has worked with in the past that he is confident are qualified and will make good witnesses in your case.
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert is a person who is qualified in a particular field based on his education and work experience. He can provide in-depth information and analysis of a particular issue in dispute—such as the cause of the accident—based on his investigation and his experience. This witness can provide testimony if your case goes to jury trial. In addition, his report can be persuasive in convincing a negligent driver’s insurance adjuster to resolve disputed issues and settle your claim.
What Expert Witnesses Could You Need in Your Case?
Not all cases require the services of an expert witness, and often every type of expert is not needed. The experts could be helpful in your case will depend on the facts of your case, the seriousness of your injuries, and the areas of dispute in the negotiations of your settlement. Here are common types of experts that you may need to hire:
- Medical expert. If you suffered injuries in the crash, you will need a medical expert to prove your injuries. While in some cases, a treating physician may fill this role, your attorney may decide to hire an independent medical professional to review your medical records. He can write a report that outlines the seriousness of your injuries, your long-term prognosis, and how your injuries will affect your ability to work and your day-to-day life and testify at your trial if necessary.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert can use the damage to the vehicles, pictures of the accident scene, witness statements, police reports, and other evidence to reconstruct how the crash occurred and determine who caused it. Reconstructionists often use sophisticated computer programs to arrive at an expert opinion and to create an animation of the wreck.
- Economists. If you have not returned to work or will have future medical expenses, an economic expert can help to determine a value of your future wage losses and medical expenses. They can also calculate your lost earning capacity if your injuries will require you to change professions or will prevent you from working at all in the future.
- Rehabilitation experts. Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, you may need a physical or occupational therapist or vocational expert who can determine how your injuries will affect your ability to work in the future and what jobs you can perform—if any. A rehabilitation expert can also testify as to how long you will be able to work and what limitations you may face in regards to job duties.
- Mental health expert. A mental health expert, such as a social worker or psychologist, can testify as to how your injuries have and will affect your emotional and mental state and your quality of life.
- Engineers. When there are issues regarding defective road conditions or signs, an engineering expert who knows the federal and state regulations regarding roadway design and construction may be able to help you prove how this contributed to your accident.
At Brauns Law, we understand the importance of hiring experts when necessary to prove our clients’ cases and have a network of qualified experts in the Atlanta area that we can utilize. If you were hurt in a car crash caused by another driver, call our office or start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.