Expert witnesses play a crucial role in the outcome of many legal cases. In short, their testimony can make or break a case depending on the type of information they share and evidence they are able to support.
In today’s day and age, there are expert witnesses for just about any case, no matter the crime. The right type of expert witness, with specific skills, can help to secure a successful outcome. But it’s important to choose the best category of expert witness, first.
If you’re looking to enlist the expertise of a witness to support your case, learn about the many different types in this blog in order to make your best-informed decision.
What is an Expert Witness?
This is a professional individual that has an in-depth knowledge or experience in a particular industry or field. Their knowledge extends far beyond that of a regular layman. An expert witness is usually qualified in a certain field of study and carries many years of industry knowledge.
It is their job to give the court fair, unbiased, and impartial information on certain aspects within their field of expertise. This factual information is either used to bolster a case of evidence or mitigate evidence. Expert witnesses play no role in the formulation or preparation of a court case or claim. It is merely their job to offer their expert testimonial to the court, as instructed by the defense or prosecution team.
The Different Types of Expert Witnesses to Choose From
A court of law is privy to a myriad of case types. This means that today, there are a variety of expert witnesses to choose from in order to support a court case. In some cases, an expert witness’s expertise and knowledge extend into more than one area of law. For example, an expert in the medical field may be able to assist in a case of medical malpractice, as well as a personal injury claim.
Here are the most commonly seen expert witnesses in a court-of-law:
1. Medical Experts
A medical expert is the most commonly sought-after type of witness. They are enlisted to assist in medical, malpractice, violent crime, and accident cases.
These types of witnesses are medical professionals with many years’ experience. They can be doctors, nurses, medical technicians, family physicians, surgeons, etc. But most of the time, a medical expert witness is a medical examiner that testifies regarding the cause of death and other factors that could have led to death.
2. Mental Health Experts
Mental health expert witnesses range from trained professionals in the field of psychology and psychiatry, mental health conditions, diseases, and more. The role of a mental health expert is to gauge whether an individual was of sound mind when making a decision. This can relate to situations like changing a will, the motivation behind an act of violence, being mentally stable when handling finances, and more.
3. Forensic Experts
A forensic expert has a background in forensic science. They specialize in matters that relate to criminal law. They can sometimes double as a medical expert witness too, but this depends on the case. Forensic experts look at several important aspects of a crime scene. These can range from ballistics, blood splatter analogy, chemical analysis, criminal behavior, and much more.
Forensic experts are crucial to many criminal cases as they help to determine the environment and logistics of a crime scene. Most of the time, a forensic expert is used by the prosecuting team in order to bolster the evidence of a case.
4. Financial Experts
As the name suggests, these types of expert witnesses specialize in all financial aspects of a case. Their expertise helps to unpack account findings, assist in solving white-collar crimes, tax fraud, and other financial crimes. They are almost always enlisted in the case of white-collar criminal cases.
5. Vocational Experts
A vocational expert is most commonly enlisted in the case of Social Security Administration. Basically, it is their job to offer an opinion on whether a person appealing a disability claim is capable or incapable of working. Their expert opinion is usually beneficial when trying to bolster a case of Social Security Administration.
6. Engineering Experts
An engineering expert is most beneficial in cases with regard to product liability. When the safety and manufacturing design of a product are in question, an engineering expert is able to provide clarity. They are able to tell the jury whether a designer or manufacturer knew their product would cause injury or harm.
7. Securities Experts
A securities expert may be similar to a financial expert witness, but they bring another dimension to certain financial cases. They are most useful in situations of white-collar fraud, too. However, a securities expert offers information on the state of the market. This helps to make determinations about fraudulent actions and their severity. They also help to determine whether a financial institution fulfilled their fiduciary duties or not.
8. Parenting Experts
A parenting expert is largely used in cases of adoption, divorce, child custody rights, and termination of parental rights. Basically, they are enlisted to assess the home life offered by each parent and make decisions based on the child’s best interests.
In some cases, a parenting expert offers their opinion on the emotional capacity or intelligence of a child. From there, the court is able to assess whether a child will cope well with a custody outcome and a new schedule.
They also help to determine whether a child is guaranteed a safe and stable environment to live in. This is mostly related to addiction recovery or abusive environments and whether a parent has their life under control.
Bump Up Your General Knowledge With Us
Expert witnesses play a crucial role in how justice is served. If you are filing a lawsuit or have been charged with a crime, you might want to talk to your attorney about how an expert witness can help your case!
If you’re on the hunt for knowledge, be sure to explore the rest of this site. We offer a plethora of articles on general knowledge topics, including health, fitness, food, recipes, tech, business services, and more.