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Expert Witnesses: an Edge That Can Help Win Your Personal Injury Case

Expert Witnesses: an Edge That Can Help Win Your Personal Injury Case

Last spring we discussed the value provided by trusted expert witnesses in helping our clients win sizable settlements in Michigan personal injury cases – to the tune of more than $1.5 billion all told! Now we’d like to take a few minutes to provide you with some important additional information on expert witnesses by answering a few key questions we’re often asked about this vital legal tool, and by discussing how the sworn testimony of credible experts from various professional fields can make a real difference in court.

Before we share these details about expert witnesses, let’s briefly discuss the purpose of witnesses in general. Typically, individuals who testify in the personal injury cases we litigate are either eyewitnesses or expert witnesses – they are very different, yet the testimony of each type of witness is essential to help prove our case before a judge and jury.


What Are Eyewitnesses?

This first group of witnesses are simply people who were on the scene when an incident or accident took place and who saw exactly what happened as it unfolded before their eyes. They can describe in graphic, first-person detail just what they observed – which often helps juries understand who’s to blame for a car crash or some other circumstance where an individual or multiple victims were injured through no fault of their own. Eyewitnesses include everyday people: passersby, law enforcement officers, passengers in the victim’s or defendant’s cars, nearby drivers or pedestrians, or perhaps the victim’s co-workers if the injury occurred on the job. Eyewitness testimony can be extremely valuable and persuasive as judges and juries consider competing claims made by both the plaintiffs and the defendants in personal injury litigation.


What Are Expert Witnesses?

The second type of people who are often called upon to testify in personal injury trialsclass action lawsuitsslip-and-fall situationsmedical malpractice cases or related litigation, are expert witnesses. They can include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Certified medical personnel who can provide specific insights into the extent of a victim’s injuries and the likelihood of recovery. These expert witnesses can be members of your own healthcare team, or perhaps persuasive and knowledgeable professionals who can authoritatively speak about a victim’s condition and long-term prognosis. Michigan law on the topic states that this type of expert witness must be “licensed as a health professional in this state or another state” and must be “in active clinical practice” or engaged in the “instruction of students in an accredited health professional school or accredited residency or clinical research program.” Other criteria that the court can consider includes, “the educational and professional training of the expert witness, the area of specialization of the expert witness, the length of time the expert witness has been engaged in the active clinical practice or instruction of the health profession or the specialty, and the relevancy of the expert witness’s testimony.”
  • Accident-scene reconstructionists, traffic safety experts, and technical accident investigators who can describe how road conditions, vehicle speeds, driver error, drug or alcohol use, or various other factors might have contributed to the cause or affected the outcome of an accident. The Michigan State Police participate in an international organization known as the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR), which provides a directory of certified reconstructionists who can be called upon to provide credible expert witness testimony in automobile-related personal injury cases statewide.
  • Certified financial planners and accounting professionals whose training and expertise permit them to determine the long-term ramifications of lost income and the potential cost of extended nursing care or maintenance prescription medications for victims requiring them.
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed counselors who are able to assess a victim’s mental state and comment authoritatively upon such diagnoses as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), accident-related depression, or other mental or emotional issues affecting the well-being of car accident victims.
  • Physicalvocational and occupational therapists who can comment upon the victim’s likelihood to ever be able to return to gainful employment or to regain the ability to perform the normal functions of daily living.

Of course, this isn’t anywhere near a complete list of the many varied types of expert witnesses who may be called upon to testify in Michigan personal injury cases. There are even a number of national clearinghouses that help connect attorneys with specific expert witnesses who possess unusual areas of expertise ranging from forensics and handwriting analysis experts to professionals who specialize in offering their testimony on various animal species (think horses, fish, dogs, livestock), playground safety, environmental toxicology, and hundreds of others! (Just check out this comprehensive directory of expert witness categories to see what we mean!)


Do Defendants and Insurance Companies Also Call Upon Expert Witnesses?

You bet they do! On the other side of the courtroom, the defendant’s case may be aided by such expert witnesses as Independent Medical Examiners, who are usually doctors or other healthcare providers paid by insurance companies to provide alternative viewpoints into a victim’s injuries and his or her long-term prognosis. The American Board of Independent Medical Examiners states that its members must possess “essential knowledge, skills, experience, and abilities” to assess injuries objectively and professionally. Because of this, we take great care to find our own trusted medical experts who are, at the very least, equally respected in their fields to testify on behalf of our clients.


Who Pays for the Services of Expert Witnesses?

We do. By law, expert witnesses are paid for their services regardless of the outcome of the litigation. In the (unlikely) event we lose your case, you are not responsible for any payments made to the expert witnesses who testified on your behalf – it all comes out of our pockets. One more thing to know is that once we’ve met with you to fully understand and assess the basis of your case, we’ll also facilitate any necessary meetings between you and the expert witnesses who’ll testify on your behalf to be sure each and every one can speak to the jury with full candor and complete authority thanks to direct knowledge and personal understanding of your specific situation.


We’re Experts at Finding the Right Witnesses to Support Your Case. Put Us to Work Today.

Since we’re responsible for finding, hiring, and paying the expert witnesses who will be testifying under oath about the extent of your injuries, we always do our utmost to find seasoned professionals who display the highest levels of integrity, intelligence, dependability, and expertise in their fields. But we can only do that if you’ve officially made us your attorneys of record. Fortunately, that’s an easy thing to accomplish: just call us at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or get in touch with a member of our team online today. All it takes is one simple request, and we’ll begin working for you immediately without costing you a penny out of pocket. Can we get a witness? You’re darn right we can!

Expert Witnesses: an Edge That Can Help Win Your Personal Injury Case

Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.