Use of Expert Witnesses in Indiana Injury Cases
Expert witnesses play an increasingly greater and greater role in injury lawsuits in Indiana. Indiana has Rules of Evidence that control whether a person can testify as an expert witness. The main difference between a "lay" witness and an "expert" witness is that expert witnesses are allowed to express an opinion on the topic of their expertise.
For example, if a person is involved in a car crash and suffers a neck or a back injury, a doctor may be allowed to express an opinion on what caused the injury and the extent of the injury. The reason expert witnesses are allowed to express opinions is because they have special skills, training, education or experiences beyond that of the general public on a specific topic.
Expert witness are not limited to the medical field. For example, a mechanical engineer may be an expert in a case where the issue is a defective product. In a bad drug case, a FDA regulatory expert may be needed to explain to the jury the drug development process.
While many experts have advances, education and degrees, that is not needed to for a witness to be considered an expert. For example, in a matter involving how iron is supposed to be constructed in a building, an iron worker who does the task everyday may be the best expert and not necessarily a Ph.D at a university.
The purpose and goal of an expert witness is the provide the jury with information that the jury, as members of the general public, do not have themselves. The expert is their to help the jury makes its decision.
The Lake County Indiana personal injury attorneys at Westland & Bennett have many years of experience working with expert witness to properly present their client's cases. Contact one of our Northwest Indiana lawyers for a consultation on your case.