5 Attributes of an Effective Expert Witness
When it comes to personal injury litigation, the success of your claim hinges largely upon the quality of your legal counsel and testifying experts. Here at Ellis Law, we have spent the past two decades achieving favorable outcomes for complex cases involving defective products, workplace injuries, negligent property maintenance, vehicle and motorcycle accidents. In the process, we have enlisted hundreds of testifying experts to provide convincing, fact-based conclusions within their field of expertise that help win our cases.
The duty of an expert witness is to provide the court an honest, impartial opinion on particular matters within his or her area of expertise that are being disputed. Oftentimes, a convincing expert opinion can lead to settlement negotiations or early resolution of the claim.
The effectiveness of this testimony depends on a number of important factors, which we have identified based on our years of courtroom experience.
An expert witness must have top-notch academic credentials to testify on the witness stand. They should have a terminal degree in their particular discipline along with real-world achievements that support those credentials. Credentials may include but are not limited to: leadership positions on professional committees and published research in reputable journals.
Great Communication Skills
Effective and persuasive communication with both judge and jury are critical. A solid expert will be able to gain – and sustain – the interest of the court, communicating complex medical or technical facts in such a way that makes them easy to understand yet highly credible. A good expert doesn’t just explain their findings, they make a connection with jurors that conveys trust and credibility.
Expert witnesses must be confident in their professional findings and communicate this confidence during testimony and cross-examination. An expert who is not 100% confident about their opinion may convey this to the jury and provoke doubt.
Consistency is often overlooked but an essential characteristic of expert testimony. An expert must give consistent opinions when preparing their initial report, during the deposition and while testifying at trial. Consistency in previous testimony and published reports are equally important, as any disparate remarks can diminish the credibility of the the expert opinion.
Preparedness & Attention to Detail
In addition to preparing a detailed written report on their professional findings, an expert will study and re-familiarize themselves with the file repeatedly in the days leading up to the trial, so they are fully prepared for any questions that may arise during cross-examination. Every detail matters in complex litigation, and a good expert will ensure that no aspect has been overlooked when testifying.
Some of the best expert witnesses have teaching backgrounds and vast experience with legal proceedings. They are able to break down complex jargon into layman’s terms. They can engage the jury and judge and have a likeable demeanor.
These are some of the most important traits we look for when selecting expert witnesses. And this rigorous vetting has helped our trial attorneys win case after case.
To schedule a private consultation with an award-winning team of Los Angeles personal injury attorneys, call Ellis Law at 888-369-2446 today.
Additional Resources on Expert Witness Testimony:
- LegalDictionary, Expert Witness https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Expert+witnesses
- Cornell Law School, Expert Witness https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Expert+witnesses
- TheExpertInstitute, 9 Personal Qualities You Should Look for in an Expert Witness https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/9-personal-qualities-you-should-look-for-in-an-expert-witness/