While some car accident claims are paid quickly and fairly, this is not the usual case. Often the insurance company for the negligent driver will dispute his liability for compensating you, the seriousness of your injuries, or the value of your claim in general. You have the burden of proving your case if you must file a lawsuit. Expert witnesses could play a vital role in winning at trial or persuading the insurance adjuster to settle your claim for the compensation that you are entitled to.
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is a professional in a certain field who has expertise based on his education, certifications, and work experience. Just as you do not want to hire any attorney to handle your car accident claim, you want to take care in hiring experts. Your expert must be qualified, and his opinion must be reliable. You also want an expert who explains his points well so that they are easily understandable to a jury and to you. This will make him a more persuasive witness. Hiring a good expert is vital because the chances are good that the insurance company will retain their own expert to dispute your expert’s opinions.
What Experts Could You Need When Filing a Claim After a Car Wreck?
Not every claim for compensation from a negligent driver will require the use of an expert witness. An experienced car accident attorney can help you identify which experts could be helpful to you depending on the disputes with the insurance company. He should also have a network of qualified experts with whom he has successfully worked in the past. These are some of the experts utilized in car accident cases:
- Medical experts. Medical expert testimony will be needed if you are unable to settle your claim. Your doctor can testify about your injuries, the treatment needed, and your final prognosis. In addition, your attorney may recommend hiring an independent medical expert to review your medical records and issue an opinion. The type of doctor you need will depend on the nature of your injuries.
- Mental health expert. If you have been treated for anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder after your accident, you may need a mental health expert to discuss your condition, the treatment for it, and your prognosis for recovery. Mental health experts may also be retained to testify about how your injuries have impacted your mental and emotional abilities in general and your quality of life.
- Physical therapist. Physical therapy can be a key part of your medical treatment. If you suffer with a chronic condition as a result of the wreck, you may need physical therapy periodically throughout your life when your injury worsens. A physical therapist may be needed as an expert in this situation.
- Accident reconstruction expert. Accident reconstruction experts can use physical evidence, witness testimony, pictures, the police report, and other evidence to reenact the sequence of events in a crash. They can determine the speed of the vehicles, force of impact, weather conditions, and many other factors important in how your accident occurred. These experts often use sophisticated computer software to recreate the accident and show its cause.
- Economists. Economic experts can be useful to calculate lost wages, future lost wages if you are still recovering, and future medical expenses. If you will need to change careers or have become disabled, an economic expert can calculate your lost earning capacity, which could include future wages, promotions, benefits, and perks of your employment.
- Rehabilitation specialists. If your injuries will impact your ability to work in the future, you may need to hire an occupational or vocational expert who can testify as to what work you can perform, for how many hours per day, and for how long into the future. These experts can also testify as to what retraining you could need before returning to work.
- Engineering expert. When road defects caused or contributed to your accident, an engineer may be needed to establish the violations of state and federal regulations in the design and construction of the road or highway.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, the experienced legal team at Chris Hudson & Associates is here to investigate your claim, hire the experts you need to prove the other driver’s and any other party’s negligence, and negotiate your settlement for you. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 to schedule your free consultation.