If you have ever been in a serious car accident, you know that it can turn your life upside down in a flash. Expensive medical treatment, mental and emotional pain, and chronic health issues can all take a huge toll on your ability to live a full and happy life.
While many people quickly settle with an insurance company after a car accident, this isn’t always the best plan. In fact, it can result in being unfairly compensated for your losses, especially if your case is complicated. In these cases, working with a New York car accident lawyer can give you a major advantage: access to experts whose testimonies can support your case and help you be fairly compensated. Below I’ll tell you more about the different types of expert testimony and how they can help your car accident claim.
What is an Expert Witness?
When you work with an attorney after an accident, they will often hire expert witnesses to support your case. As opposed to a lay witness (someone who saw the accident happen), an expert witness is someone who, although they did not witness the accident, has the expertise, education, or special training to help a judge or jury understand what happened during the crash. They can provide educated opinions about who is liable, how much a victim is entitled to recover, and more.
Expert witnesses are especially helpful when a case is complicated, such as a crash involving several vehicles or a collision that happened with atypical road conditions. Sometimes, a victim has a pre-existing medical condition that is exacerbated by their accident, and an expert witness is needed to verify this. Likewise, if there were no witnesses present at the accident and it is your word versus the defendant’s, having expert testimony is a must.
In car, truck, pedestrian, and motorcycle accident cases, expert witnesses are typically health care providers, medical specialists, accident reconstructionists, and vocational rehabilitation experts, as well as economists. Here is an overview of the various types of experts:
After an accident, healthcare providers such as doctors, pain management specialists, physical therapists, and mental health professionals can be invaluable as expert witnesses. Not only can they testify about the cause and extent of your injuries immediately after an accident, but they can offer opinions about injuries that may become permanent or chronic. They can also provide accurate estimates of the costs of future medical procedures a victim may need such as surgery or physical therapy. Without this type of testimony, an insurance company may simply compensate you for the treatment you have already received without considering future medical costs. This can leave you with extensive out-of-pocket expenses.
Healthcare providers can also be useful expert witnesses if you have a pre existing medical condition that is exacerbated by an accident. Insurers often try to argue that injuries sustained during an accident were actually preexisting, but a medical expert’s testimony can verify that the accident in question caused the injuries or made a preexisting condition worse.
Accident reconstructionists are often called as expert witnesses after a car accident, and can be especially helpful if there is a dispute about who was responsible. Accident reconstructionists are experienced in analyzing the details of any scenario and determining who caused the crash. They can also provide insight into when, how, and why it happened. They do this through a very scientific process that allows them to calculate vehicle speed and direction, where the vehicles were located at the time of the crash, and even momentum and stopping distance. These types of details can be particularly convincing to a jury.
Economists and Vocational Rehabilitation Experts
Many times after an accident, the repercussions go far beyond the injuries themselves, extending to a victim’s ability to work. For example, if you miss work because you are hospitalized for your injuries, you are eligible to be compensated for any wages you lose during this time. Likewise, if your injuries prevent you from performing specific duties of your job and you have to accept a lower-paying position as a result, you are entitled to recover any wages you lost. In some situations, an accident victim has to seek new employment altogether or cannot work at all due to their injuries. In any scenario where the victim loses some or all of their earning capacity, an expert testimony can help.
For example, a vocational rehabilitation expert will be able to determine exactly how much earning capacity you lost in light of your injuries. They can also attest to whether or not you will be able to hold the same job, and how much your earning capacity has been reduced by due to your accident.
For people who work as independent contractors, seasonal workers, freelancers, or work irregularly, an economist will be indispensable to your case. They can calculate lost wages and damages, even if your income is inconsistent.
Other Types of Expert Testimony
Because each accident is unique, the range of expert testimony types is practically endless. The examples provided are among the most common, but depending on your case a range of other experts may be hired by your attorney. For example, first responders to the accident scene, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs are sometimes called as expert witnesses because they have seen all immediate injuries and property damage firsthand. In cases of distracted driving or texting while driving, it can be difficult to prove on your own that someone was using their phone at the time of the crash, but a phone records specialist can create a timeline of the accident and align it with phone records.
When a Lawyer Can Help
A good New York car accident attorney will be familiar with the types of experts who can most benefit your case, and will likely have worked with many reliable experts over the years. They can ensure that your witnesses have the necessary education and training to support your case.
Since each case is different, consulting with a personal injury attorney about your case is the best way to determine whether or not these types of testimony could help you. At Buttafuoco and Associates, we have successfully leveraged many expert testimonies to fight for the rights of innocent victims.
Contact us today to learn more during a free consultation on your case at 1-800-NOW-HURT.