The expert opinion that lawyers require to support their cases might cost thousands of dollars. But while outward signs of an expert’s eligibility for a case, such as their education, talents, and work experience, are reliable objective measures, several intangible human attributes are equally crucial to consider. Here is what to look for in an engineering expert witness to ensure that the court or jury will accept their testimony.
Attention to detail
Details count in legal cases. An expert engineering witness must pay close attention to detail when examining voluminous medical records, collections of intricate engineering designs, or patents. The expert may lose in cross-examination if they don’t pay close attention to detail and don’t spend enough time reviewing the evidence before expressing a judgment. Pointing out all the items that were not completed or not read to form an opinion is one of the most popular strategies to refute an expert witness’ testimony.
Every expert witness should have a thorough curriculum vitae outlining their educational background and any licenses, publications, speaking engagements, and awards they may have obtained. Expert witnesses should possess the highest education levels and experience in the field in which they provide expert opinions. Even though having relevant professional expertise is necessary for any effective expert, extra experience with teaching, public speaking, or other interpersonal activities might show that a potential expert will probably be a good fit for a testifying role.
Communication skills are a must for engineering expert witnesses. Therefore, they must feel at ease employing the technical jargon utilized in their industry. They ought to be able to express themselves without holding back or needing to look up information in the records. Good experts should be able to comprehend the questions that the lawyers ask and answer them in full. A skilled communicator can condense complex scientific, medical, or specialized data so that the judge or jury can grasp what the expert is saying.
Confidence is important. Opposing counsel may cross-examine expert witnesses during depositions to learn how they arrived at their conclusions. Furthermore, expert witnesses may be required to testify before the judge or jury, and those unfamiliar with their field of expertise must accept their testimony. A confident expert conveys that the court or jury should share their belief in their opinion. An expert who is unsure of their position can give the impression that the judge or jury should have reason to distrust what they are stating, which could lead them to consult the expert on the other side.
Making a thorough written report of their findings is one of an expert witness’s most crucial duties. The expert report should include all examined documents to deliver the opinion and provide a concise summary of their conclusions and suggestions. Good experts frequently request that you email them records because they must evaluate additional evidence to adequately support their judgment.
A good engineering expert witness should be knowledgeable, experienced, dedicated, and confident. They should also be a good communicator with attention to detail.