Wrongful death cases are often complex and difficult to navigate, which is why having an experienced wrongful death attorney can be so important. But even with a skilled legal team on your side, there may still be times when you need the help of an expert witness.

Expert witnesses can provide valuable insight into a wrongful death case by offering their specialized knowledge and experience in areas relevant to the proceedings.  Their testimony can play a crucial role in establishing liability and making sure justice is served for those who have lost loved ones due to negligence or misconduct.

In this article we will discuss the role of expert witnesses in wrongful death cases, the types of experts used in such cases, questions to ask when selecting an expert witness for your case, the benefits of using an experienced attorney when dealing with a wrongful death claim involving an expert witness, common mistakes made by those representing themselves in a wrongful death trial involving an expert witness, and more.

Why Do Expert Witnesses Play an Important Role in Wrongful Death Cases?

Expert witnesses help by providing an unbiased opinion backed up by facts and scientific evidence relevant to the case at hand. Their opinions are based on their education, training, experience, and research related to the case. Expert witnesses can also provide information that would otherwise not be available through other sources, such as technical information about how a product works or detailed analysis of medical records and procedures. This helps establish liability for those responsible for causing a wrongful death.  

How Can an Expert Witness Help Establish Liability in a Wrongful Death Case?

Expert Witnesses Can Explain Complex Concepts 

In some cases, the facts of a wrongful death case are straightforward, such as when a medical professional fails to diagnose an illness and that failure results in the patient’s death. While these cases may be easy to understand, many wrongful death cases involve complex concepts or technical information that can be difficult for jurors to comprehend. An expert witness can explain this complex information in terms that are easy for jurors to understand, which can make all the difference in establishing liability in a wrongful death case. 

Experts Provide Credible Testimony 

In addition to providing relevant evidence and context on complex topics, expert witnesses also provide credible testimony. This is because they must adhere to certain codes of conduct and ethical standards established by their profession. As such, they are held accountable for their statements and cannot offer opinions on matters outside their expertise. Thus, lawyers will often go to great lengths to find an expert witness who not only understands the complexities of the case but also has impeccable credentials and experience testifying as an expert witness before courtrooms. 

Experts Can Speak Directly To Liability 

Lastly, an expert witness can speak directly to liability issues in a wrongful death case. By providing their opinion on whether someone acted negligently or recklessly and whether that negligence or recklessness resulted in another person’s death, an expert witness can help establish liability in a wrongful death case beyond any reasonable doubt. This makes them invaluable when it comes time for juries to reach verdicts on these matters. 

Types of Experts Used in Wrongful Death Cases

The type of expert witness needed will depend on the specifics of the wrongful death case. For example:

Medical malpractice – Doctors or other medical experts may be called upon to testify as expert witnesses in order to explain the medical procedures that were followed and whether they deviated from accepted standards of care. 

Product liability – Engineers may need to provide testimony about the design or construction flaws in products that caused a fatality. 

Car accidents – Accident reconstruction experts may be used when negligence has been alleged due to recklessness or distractions behind the wheel.  

The Importance of Having the Right Expert Witness For Your Case

Having knowledgeable attorneys represent your family during a wrongful death lawsuit is invaluable when it comes time to present your case in court. Wrongful death attorneys have access to top-notch expert witnesses who specialize in various areas related to wrongful death cases, so they will know exactly which experts should be consulted for each situation. A lawyer can also make sure that all aspects of your case are thoroughly explored before going to court. This includes any potential expert witnesses to ensure you get justice for your loved one’s untimely passing.

Don’t Represent Yourself or Choose a Lawyer Who Doesn’t Practice Personal Injury

It may be tempting to handle your wrongful death claim by yourself to save money. Or perhaps you have a friend or family member who is an attorney but isn’t focused on personal injury law. You’re considering hiring them because they’ll charge you less as a favor. Don’t do it. You don’t have access to expert witnesses, and they probably need to dig around to find one to help with your case. This could cost you dearly in the end.

You Won’t Have Access to Expert Witnesses

Do you negotiate with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys for a living? Odds are, your answer is no. Those adjusters and especially defense attorneys will come at you hard. They know you’ve never handled a wrongful death case and will treat you accordingly. 

They also know you don’t have any expert witnesses to back up your claim. This lethal combination can cost you thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.

If You Handle Your Own Claim, You’ll Also Have Trouble Accessing Important Records

Personal injury attorneys have preferred access to police files, medical records and as noted, expert witnesses. You do not enjoy the same privileges. This will cause delays in your claim and drag the entire process out. You also don’t have the help of a paralegal for any needed documentation and deadlines. 

Your Family or Friend’s Attorney Has No Experience in Personal Injury Law

You may have a friend or family member who’s an attorney. The problem is, they don’t practice personal injury law. Best case scenario, they refer you to a colleague who does. If that’s your situation, certainly call their referral.

Otherwise, avoid the temptation. Would you go to a pediatrician for a toothache? Of course not. Then you shouldn’t use a divorce attorney for a wrongful death claim. They may be the best divorce attorney in the state, but that won’t mean anything if they have no experience handling personal injury cases nor a network of expert witnesses specialized in testifying about wrongful death claims.

In Closing

Expert witnesses are invaluable when it comes to wrongful death cases. By providing specialized knowledge and experience relevant to the proceedings, they help establish liability for those who have lost loved ones due to negligence or misconduct. 

All reputable personal injury law firms have a network of expert witnesses that they call upon to provide powerful testimony for their clients. Many times, it’s this testimony that sways juries or causes insurance companies to up their settlement offers during negotiations. 

Ultimately, having access to qualified experts is essential if you want justice served after suffering the untimely death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. 

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