Depending on the situation you are dealing with, you might need expert witnesses to prove your case against a liable party. Their testimonies are especially vital in disputes where a professional’s insights can help claims adjusters or jurors understand how the other side is at fault.
Let us look further into how experts can help you and the types of cases that usually require their opinions.
Under What Bases Can an Expert Serve as a Witness?
According to Ohio Rules of Evidence Rule 702, an expert can testify for your case if these conditions apply to them:
- They are qualified to speak about the topic of their testimony due to their educational background, line of work, and experience in the relevant field.
- The testimony’s topic is prone to misconceptions and other misunderstandings by outsiders in the field and may need an expert’s explanation to clarify matters.
- The expert’s testimony is based on facts derived from specialized knowledge, whether scientific or technical based.
To illustrate, suppose you file an injury claim against a construction firm after a work zone accident. Another building contractor could testify on your behalf to help the jury know how the defending party breached the standard of care expected in their industry.
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What Cases Often Need Expert Witnesses?
Some examples of personal injury cases requiring expert witnesses include:
- Medical Malpractice: A fellow practitioner may have to explain medical procedures and attributes of certain diseases or demonstrate how the liable medical professional acted negligently, thus resulting in your injury.
- Product Liability: You may need the expert to point out design defects, errors in the manufacturing process, safety standard violations, and other mistakes that would have likely caused the injury.
- Car Accidents: The expert witness could help explain how the collision happened and connect the crash to your injuries.
You may also find expert witnesses necessary in matters concerning case values. For instance, they can help compute your damages for past and future lost wages or medical expenses. This can be especially beneficial if you are incapacitated for the long term, hurting your chances of earning sufficiently to support yourself.
Can Cases Have Special Requirements for Choosing an Expert Witness?
Ohio has additional conditions for expert witnesses in medical claims. According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2743.43, the witness’s testimony will only be valid in a medical liability claim if:
- They have a valid medical license in their specialization with the Ohio State Medical Board or other licensing boards in other states.
- They have the same specialization as the medical claim’s defendant. For example, if you file a medical malpractice claim against an anesthesiologist, the expert witness should also be one.
- They have been actively practicing in their specialization or serving as a university instructor in said field for at least ¾ of their time as licensed professionals.
However, the law does allow testimonies from those in a closely related field so long as they can prove their specialty’s standards of care are similar to the defendant’s. For example, a family practitioner might be allowed to testify against a pediatrician, as they both can treat child patients.
Can an Expert Witness’s Testimony Get Disqualified?
A court can choose to disqualify a witness, regardless of whether they are an expert or not, if they cannot communicate their points when testifying. The expert must explain in layman’s terms so jurors can better understand concepts such as the physics behind an auto collision or the medical complications of a surgical error.
Furthermore, witnesses can also get disqualified if the court finds they were not truthful while testifying. This is because one of the state’s competency rules for witnesses is for the witness to understand they have a duty to tell the truth in court.
As such, it is crucial to get an expert that is not only experienced and knowledgeable in their field but also articulate and trustworthy.
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What Happens If You Fail to Get an Expert Witness for Your Case?
Not having an expert witness does not automatically mean you will lose the dispute. However, supporting your case more effectively may get harder, as the expert’s knowledgeable opinions and findings would have brought more credibility to your side. Do not hesitate to approach a personal injury lawyer to help secure an expert’s assistance.
Get Help Finding Expert Witnesses Here
If you struggle with getting an expert to testify for your case here in Ohio, Bressman Law is always here for you. David Bressman and his team have built an extensive network over their decades of service. As such, we can help you get in touch with legitimate, reliable expert witnesses who can review your case and provide valid opinions.
If you have any legal concerns about your case, you can always call us or send a message on this website. We will get in touch shortly to discuss the matter with you further.