Every auto accident lawsuit has at least one expert witness. Doctors, therapists, and actuaries are all called in at one point or another to assist in developing your case. Find out what all those expert witnesses are for, and why you need them.
As your First Party no-fault auto accident case progresses, your attorney will almost always hire at least one expert witness. All those expert fees can add up and cut into your recovery, but they are absolutely necessary.
Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof
In any lawsuit, the person bringing the case (the plaintiff) has the job of proving the case true. In a First Party case against your auto insurance company, that means that your attorneys will need to prove that:
- You were injured;
- The injury was related to the use of a motor vehicle; and
- The medical treatment you received was reasonably necessary to treat your injury.
In some cases, your testimony and other witnesses may be able to establish your injury and the car accident. In others, particularly if you lost consciousness, you may need an expert to explain what happened to cause the crash.
The third prong of every no-fault case – the reasonably necessary medical treatment – is almost always a question for experts. Your doctors will need to testify as expert witnesses as to what they did and why.
Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness
While an accident reconstruction expert witness is sometimes helpful in First Party cases against auto insurers, they more often come into play in Third Party negligence actions. When fault becomes a question, an accident reconstruction expert witness can help show how a collision occurred and whose negligence caused it.
Defense Medical Expert Witness
Even if you don’t want to use an expert witness, your insurance company will. It has become routine for auto insurers to demand an “independent medical examination” before authorizing any medical benefits. That medical examiner will then become a defense medical expert witness in the case against you. He or she will argue that you had a preexisting injury, that the treatment wasn’t related to the accident, or that you won’t benefit from any further treatment.
To fight back against a defense medical expert witness, your legal team will need to bring in their own experts – your treating physicians. They will testify about what treatment was necessary to treat your injuries and why. The independent medical examiner is almost always basing his or her assessment on one brief exam and a review of documents. Your expert witnesses will be able to provide important context to defeat the claim that your treatment was unnecessary.
The experienced trial attorneys at Christensen Law know how to make good use of an expert witness to win your no-fault case. As you prepare for trial, they will explain to you what the role of each expert is, and what you can expect to hear from them on the stand.