What is an Expert Witness?
A witness is someone who gives sworn evidence to a court of law or tribunal. Essentially, there are witnesses of fact and expert witnesses. A witness of fact is a person who might give evidence but not give their opinions along with it. An expert witness, however, is a person who might give evidence and their opinions based on their expertise.
The main purpose of an expert witness is to convey their unbiased professional opinion based on the provided information. An expert can be used during litigation, arbitration, or tribunals.
Who Can Be an Expert Witness?
An expert witness can be someone of any profession with substantial experience, knowledge, or training regarding a particular topic or career field. Having an advanced degree, many years of experience or a high-ranking position are ideal qualifications for an expert witness.
Attorneys may ask more about a potential witness’ credentials, such as:
- Have you spoken during professional conferences?
- Have you been published in many highly regarded publications?
- Have you ever been quoted by the press?
- Have you won any awards, fellowships, or grants?
The importance of these may vary from case to case, but generally, the more professional achievements someone has, the more appealing they are as a witness.
An attorney may also factor in the following when deciding on an expert witness:
- Prior experience working as a witness
- Proximity to the location of the trial
- Hourly rate for services
- Schedule flexibility
- Ability to express complex ideas in a straightforward and simple manner
Expert witnesses will:
- Give an independent, professional opinion based on their area of expertise on a specific subject, according to the instructions given to them. Any instructions given will be included in the expert witness’ report and will be seen by the opposing counsel and the court.
- Deliver their opinion organized as a report and/or evidence as required by a court or other tribunal. A report is often required because it can be difficult to provide evidence without one.
- Verify that the expert’s witness given to you contains the court’s required information. If you continue, you will be required to give the opposing side a copy of your report for them to dispute. You will receive a copy of the opposing side’s expert witness’ report as well.
- Obey any applicable specified procedure rules, as well as any tribunal or court orders.
- Provide independent, unbiased, and truthful opinions, whether they are helpful to your case or not. The court will reject the evidence of anyone who is or appears to be partisan.
- Have a prevailing obligation to the tribunal or court. This obligation overrides any obligations to you, even though you are still required to pay the witness.
Expert witnesses will not:
- Advocate for you, argue your case, find evidence, or recommend what your case should contain.
- Offer advice.
- Give any opinions past their particular field of expertise that involve a conflict of interest.
- Negotiate on anyone’s behalf.
- Accept any gifts or payments that involve a conflict of interest, nor will they accept any bribes.
- Agree to anything that is conditional on the case’s outcome, such as conditional fee arrangements or success fees (payments linked to the case’s results). The witness will not be seen as unbiased and independent if they agree to any conditional terms.
You or your legal representatives must:
- Agree, in writing, to the contractual terms with the witness before any work has started. The terms regarding payment must be included.
- Provide the witness with detailed instructions.
- Keep the witness aware of all important dates for the case and any developments in good time.
It would be better for a legal representative to manage the witness rather than you.
When is an Expert Witness Used?
An expert witness is mandatory when it is essential to have opinion evidence to aid in a dispute’s resolution. An early resolution of the dispute might occur because of an expert witness’s opinions. A witness may also participate in court proceedings and be called to provide evidence.
A single joint expert is a witness ordered by all parties to give an opinion on a subject in proceedings. A party-appointed expert is a witness appointed by one party only. The responsibility of either type of witness is the same- a primary obligation to aid the court.
If you’re looking for a Medical Expert Witness in Dallas TX, contact Dr. McNew at Legal Medical Consulting. Dr. McNew has extensive knowledge and experience with legal teams in the healthcare sector.