Do I Need an Expert Witness for My Wrongful Death Case?
Expert witnesses in a wrongful death case can make all the difference in the outcome of your lawsuit. Such witnesses provide critical testimony and can explain complicated topics to the jury so they are easily understood.
Wrongful death cases are hard to win if it is simply a matter of the plaintiff and defendant telling their own versions of the story. An expert witness serves as a professional in their field giving their fact-based perspective. The court qualifies all experts before they are permitted to testify.
Keep in mind that winning a wrongful death case means showing that the defendant was negligent, and this negligence resulted in your family member’s death. An expert witness uses facts to help prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions are responsible for your loved one’s demise.
An experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at Ellis Injury Law knows how the loss of your loved one has affected you and your family and will fight hard so that you receive the compensation you deserve. Money cannot return your family member to you, but it can allow you to maintain the standard of living available before the tragedy happened.
While the types of expert witnesses in a wrongful death case will vary according to the cause of death, they fall into three basic categories.
Liability expert witnesses may prove that the defendant is the entity responsible for the victim’s demise. An accident reconstructionist, who usually has a scientific or engineering background, will examine the evidence and come to a determination about how the crash occurred and who is liable. In a motor vehicle collision, factors such as damage to the vehicles, injuries suffered by the victim, the crash scene itself, and the weather are crucial in the reconstructionist’s establishment of the sequence of events leading up to the accident.
If it is not clear exactly how the person died, a causation expert witness will present their findings. Medical examiners and pathologists may fulfill this role.
A financial expert witness will testify as to the economic damages resulting from death. Such witnesses are generally economists, accountants, and vocational experts. Their calculations are made based on the deceased’s age, education, skills, occupational advancement opportunities, and other considerations.
Each case is unique. Wrongful death lawyers will find the best witnesses with the expertise necessary for your particular case.
Wrongful death damages
Compensation, or damages, in a California wrongful death lawsuit may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Financial support the deceased would have provided under their normal life expectancy or that of the plaintiff
- Loss of gifts and benefits the deceased may have bestowed
- Loss of love, companionship, guidance, and protection
- The reasonable value of household services provided by the deceased
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the death date. The spouse, domestic partner, or children of the deceased may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased did not have these surviving family members, the California laws of intestate succession apply when it comes to filing a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death attorney will determine the type and number of expert witnesses based on the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death. Because experts need time to review the documentation and conduct an investigation, it is wise to get them involved early on in the case.
Contact a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer
If your family member died because of another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional harm, you need the services of a compassionate Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Ellis Injury Law. We know that you are mourning your loved one’s loss and that this is a difficult and overwhelming time in your life.
Submit our online form or call or text us 24/7 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Our dedicated attorneys have recovered more than $350 million for clients in settlements and verdicts. You pay no fee unless you receive compensation.