An expert witness may be used during all aspects of a personal injury case. For example, attorneys may consult expert witnesses during an accident investigation. They may also call expert witnesses to testify at trial. An expert witness can provide crucial evidence necessary to prove the allegations in your case.
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Who Qualifies as an Expert Witness in New York Personal Injury Cases?
An individual must meet specific standards to qualify as an expert witness in New York. The judge in the case decides whether a witness qualifies as an expert.
The factors that a judge may consider when deciding if a witness qualifies as an “expert” in their field of expertise include the person’s:
- Years of experience with the subject matter
- Professional credentials, including education and training
- Specialized knowledge, training, and certifications
- Actual work or practice within the area of expertise
- Published research and studies
- Reputation in the field of expertise
- Peer-reviewed articles and papers
New York courts generally use the standard outlined in Frye vs. United States for expert witnesses. The Frye standard states that an expert’s opinion must be generally accepted within the person’s field of expertise.
According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 702 states that a person qualified as an expert witness may testify under the following circumstances:
- The expert’s knowledge helps the fact finder or trier of fact understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue;
- The testimony is based on sufficient data or evidence;
- Reliable principles and methods are the basis of the testimony; and
- The expert reliably applied the methods and principles to the facts of the case.
Expert witness testimony is allowed under New York Rules of Evidence 7.01 if the testimony:
- Helps the finder of fact understand the evidence or determine a fact at issue; and
- The subject matter is beyond the understanding or knowledge, or dispels misconceptions of a trier of fact.
New York Civil Procedure Rule §3101 requires that each party disclose the identity of all expert witnesses, except in medical malpractice cases.
They must also disclose the subject matter the expert witness will testify about, and the substance of the opinions and facts relied upon by the expert witness. The disclosure must include a summary of reasoning for each opinion and the expert witness’s qualifications.
Parties are not required to disclose expert witnesses they consulted during the investigation if they do not intend to call the expert to testify at trial.
What Are the Benefits of Using Expert Witnesses in New York City Personal Injury Cases?
Expert witnesses can be invaluable during an accident investigation. They provide expert opinions regarding the facts and circumstances that led to the victim’s injury. In addition, an expert witness may assist the attorney in identifying liable parties and assigning blame for the cause of an accident.
During a trial, an expert witness can:
- Explain technical, complex matters to jurors in ways that the jurors understand
- Provide opinions based on the expert’s knowledge, experience, and specializations
- Provide factual, unbiased testimony regarding matters related to the disputed issues
- Refute claims made by the other party’s expert witnesses
- Make deductions based on accepted scientific methods
Expert witnesses may testify about various aspects of the case, including the extent of the plaintiff’s damages. A trained expert witness is familiar with court proceedings and has experience handling themselves in court when being cross-examined by opposing counsel.
Examples of Expert Witnesses Used in Personal Injury Cases in New York City
The type of expert witnesses an attorney hires for a personal injury case depends on the case. The types of expert witnesses who might help with an investigation or testify at a personal injury trial include but are not limited to:
Medical experts may testify about the extent and severity of a victim’s injuries. They may also testify about how the injuries impact the plaintiff’s life. In a medical malpractice case, medical experts testify about the accepted medical standard of care and how the defendant’s conduct breached the standard of care.
Accident reconstructionists use the evidence in a case to reconstruct a traffic accident based on scientific methods. The expert may assist the attorney in proving how the accident occurred, thereby establishing fault.
Financial / Economic Experts
Financial experts may testify about the cost of health care, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity. An expert can help increase the value of damages by providing jurors with sound arguments that justify the amount of future losses related to permanent impairments and disabilities.
Other Expert Witnesses
Depending on the type of case, a personal injury lawyer may hire:
- Forensic experts
- Mental health experts
- Vocational experts
- Engineering experts
- Commercial trucking experts
- Road design experts
- Cell phone records experts
- Life care planning experts
- Specialized medical experts (i.e., neurologist, pain management, orthopedic, etc.)
Experienced personal injury lawyers have resources for locating and retaining expert witnesses. In most cases, the attorney has worked with various expert witnesses over the years of representing injured parties.
Contact a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
An experienced personal injury lawyer will take care of every aspect of your personal injury case, including hiring expert witnesses as necessary. Contact a New York City personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured by another party’s negligence.