What is an Expert Witness?

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is a person who is considered an expert in their professional field and can offer expert testimony about an issue at a trial. Most expert witnesses didn’t actually witness anything related to the case first-hand. Typically, lay witnesses offer such testimony based on personal observations or knowledge.

According to Rule 702 in both the Oklahoma and Federal Rules of Evidence, an expert witness is someone who can use their expert knowledge in a particular scientific, technical, or another specialized area to help clarify the facts of a specific case. If you have questions about how an expert might be able to help your case, then make sure you speak to an experienced attorney who can help you. 

What Makes Someone an Expert Witness?

In Oklahoma, a court must first decide that an expert witness is necessary and then decide that the scientific field of expertise is a real and recognized one. Just because someone may know everything about a specific topic does not mean that they would be approved as an expert in court. 

If the judge approves an expert witness, then they will be permitted to give their expert opinions on specific areas of evidence in a particular case. An expert witness will make his or her conclusions by applying reliable and proven scientific principles or methods to the case at hand. Expert witnesses can be extremely valuable in presenting a personal injury case.

What Is the Court Process to Qualify an Expert Witness?

An expert is subject to questions by both attorneys and the judge regarding their expertise on a particular subject before they are qualified as an expert witness for trial. The first step to qualify an expert witness is through the process of voir dire. During voir dire, the attorneys on both sides of the case are able to ask questions related to the expert witness’s qualifications and expertise. 

Often, an expert witness will demonstrate how he or she has testified as an expert in other trials and will discuss their published works on different scientific areas. After both sides and the judge have asked questions related to the expert witness’s qualifications and knowledge, the judge will decide if that expert witness will be allowed to testify in that trial.  

What Types of Cases Use Expert Witnesses?

Expert witnesses can be used in almost any type of case. If there is a scientific or technical issue in a given case, an expert witness could be useful. 

Some of the most common types of reasons why expert witnesses are called upon include:

  • Forensic science
  • Accident reconstruction
  • DNA analysis
  • Fingerprint analysis
  • Cases involving breathalyzers
  • Mental health assessments
  • Handwriting analysis

There are many reasons why an expert witness might be needed. Make sure you determine whether an expert witness is necessary for your case. Often, there is a ‘battle of the experts’ when both sides hire expert witnesses. That’s why it’s crucial to hire the best expert possible for your case.

If you have questions about how to find the best expert witness for your case, contact a personal injury attorney who has worked extensively with expert witnesses for help. 

How Can an Expert Witness Help Your Case? 

An expert witness can help explain technical information to a judge or jury that they might not understand on their own. If your case involves an accident, an expert can help reconstruct the accident scene and help you prove someone else’s negligence or liability. If someone was alleged to have been drunk, then an expert witness can analyze the breath test results. 

They can help you explain difficult to understand topics to prove your case in court. Sometimes, the quality of an expert witness can be the difference in winning or losing your case.

Call Today for A Free Consultation

If you are wondering if you need an expert witness for your case, then it is important to get the advice of an experienced attorney. The attorneys at McGuire Law Firm are experienced personal injury attorneys. We are available now to help answer your legal questions related to personal injury.