4 Facts about Expert Witnesses

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Expert witnesses can be useful resources in court proceedings, providing in-depth information that can help the judge and jury come to conclusions and make informed decisions. Here are four facts about expert witnesses.

1. What They Are

Expert witnesses can be anyone with sufficient experience or knowledge in a field relevant to your legal proceding. An expert witness can be brought in to provide information in any kind of legal proceding, from litigation, to criminal trials and from arbitration to tribunals. There are two types of expert witnesses. The main type provides impartial opinions, within his or her field of expertise, as evidence. The subtype, Witnesses of Fact, generally cannot provide opinions.

2. When They’re Utilized

Expert witness services are typically utilized when expertise and experience are required for informational or contextual purposes. The expert witness will likely have no first-hand information on the dispute at hand, but should have a solid background in the field the dispute is related to. For example, financial expert witnesses may be called upon to help settle financial litigation disputes because they have extensive knowledge of the inner workings of that industry.

3. What They Can Do

There are many ways you can utilize the services of an expert witness. An expert witness can be called upon to testify in person or with a written report. The expert witness can be called upon for his or her services by one or both parties involved in the legal dispute, but his or her opinions must be impartial and provide independent evidence. This means the witness’s testimony may end up benefiting your opponent rather than you. The point of an expert witness is to provide information that helps the court come to a decision, not to help one side or the other win the case.

4. What They Can’t Do

While they’re incredible useful resources for specific information, there are things expert witnesses cannot do for you. An expert witness can only provide information and opinions within a narrow scope. He or she cannot offer you anything outside of his or her field of expertise. You cannot ask an expert witness to offer advice or negotiate terms. An expert witness also may not participate in your case if there is any conflict of interest.

An expert witness is only one type of witness. Depending on the kind of case you’re involved in, you may or may not require expert witness testimony.