Expert witnesses are frequently used in litigation by both plaintiffs and defendants to provide important evidence supporting their case. There are both federal and state guidelines that expert witnesses must follow when preparing for and rendering their testimony on a matter before the court. Experts in any field chosen to provide expert witness testimony that lack experience in this endeavor frequently make mistakes that weaken rather then strengthen the legal case for which they have been chosen.
Here are some common mistakes made by expert witnesses in court cases.
Relying on Insufficient Information
A common mistake made by inexperienced expert witnesses is not obtaining the full scope of information available that pertains to the case in question. The contracting attorney will often provide a slate of information for the expert witness to use in making a judgement but this may not reflect everything. An expert witness’ duty is to the truth first and to the court and not just to the attorney that hired him or her.
A sound, factual and unbiased judgement can only be rendered after examining all the facts and information available about the case. Experienced expert witnesses do their own research and fact gathering so the investigative and evaluative process is not tainted or tilted toward one side or the other.
Relying on Insufficient or Faulty Methodology
Modern legal cases require an expert witness to possess adequate credentials to qualify as an expert witness and also that they employ an honest and defensible methodology when arriving at a judgement. Expert witnesses cannot simply expect the court to take their word based on who they are and what they do. They must demonstrate an accepted method for arriving at their judgement that includes methods of evaluation and testing that are without ambiguity.
Failing to Communicate Clearly
Inexperienced expert witnesses may try to sound too much like an expert when offering testimony before the court or in written reports. The role of an expert witness is to evaluate an issue relating to their expertise and render a clear judgement pertaining to it so that officers of the court can understand what happened and why.
Judges and attorneys are not experts in construction, engineering, medicine or other specialty disciplines. This is why they need expert witnesses to clarify and explain complicated truths from these and other disciplines in ways that they can understand.
Beryl Project Engineering offers expert witness services for litigation in areas where we hold a level of experience and expertise. Contact us today for more information about expert witness services in and around Tampa, Florida.