The Use of Expert Witnesses in Virginia Personal Injury Cases

If you have a Virginia personal injury case, it might be necessary for an expert witness to give testimony pertaining to the cause of your accident or the severity of your injuries. Since expert testimony is beholden to some rather intricate laws, rules of evidence, and case decisions, the Virginia personal injury lawyers from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can examine the details of your accident and determine if using expert witnesses is right for your case.  

What Is an Expert Witness?

In personal injury terms, an expert witness is someone who was not involved in your accident but is able to provide proof relating to your case. Their background, training, expertise, and education allow them to offer testimony about the cause of your accident as it relates to liability or the extent of your injuries as they relate to damages. 

Experts can testify in a case, or act as a consultant to advise an attorney without actually providing testimony. Expert witnesses are not used in all personal injury cases. The decision to use an expert’s advice or testimony is made by the attorney.  Either side of a personal injury case may use experts as consultants or witnesses but, ultimately, the trial court has full discretion over allowing an expert to testify. 

Are There Different Types of Expert Witnesses?

personal injury

There are many kinds of expert witnesses that could be called upon in a Virginia personal injury case. Medical professionals, such as physicians, are frequently used. They provide evidence regarding the nature of the victim’s injury, necessary treatments, and prognosis. Mental health professionals sometimes supply evidence about the psychological effects of a car accident. If mental or medical health professionals are used, they give evidence that augments the testimony and records of the mental and medical health professionals who treated the victim, the latter testifying as witnesses instead of experts.

Experts in accident reconstruction have a technological and scientific background that allows them to assess the cause, events, and conditions surrounding an accident. Reconstruction experts aren’t always needed but they can be useful in determining causation in complicated cases, like accidents involving multiple vehicles. 

In some instances, vocational or financial experts will give evidence pertaining to the economic impact of the victim’s injuries caused by their inability to work and earn a living. This kind of professional testimony can aid in proving damages relating to the victim’s projected earning capacity.

A more recent development is the use of expert witnesses for deciphering phone records. If a motor vehicle accident case potentially involves driver distraction, such as making phone calls or texting, someone who specializes in phone records could be asked to demonstrate that the driver was on their phone at the time the accident occurred. 

Considerations in Virginia Personal Injury Cases

There are several things for our Virginia personal injury attorneys to consider when determining whether to use expert witnesses in each individual case. One crucial factor is that their testimony is subject to the rules of evidence, numerous statutory provisions, and rules enacted in prior court decisions. Our attorneys will gauge the weight of these various limitations along with whether or not an expert witness is necessary in order to establish the elements of your personal injury case.

If a case has a sufficient amount of strong evidence in the form of documented proof and eyewitness statements relating to the accident, an expert witness is probably unnecessary. If, however, the direct evidence is not enough to prove damages or liability, your attorney may consider using an expert on certain issues.

Our lawyers weigh all relevant considerations before deciding to use an expert witness in your case. The use of an expert witness is just one of several aspects of your case that your Virginia personal injury attorney will discuss with you as part of your injury claim.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence and feel you have a valid personal injury case, our Virginia personal injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp are here to help. Call (833) 997-1774 and schedule your free consultation.

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