When Might an Expert Witness be Needed in a Car Accident Case?
Following a severe car accident, you may need to go through several rounds of negotiation with the insurance company that covers the liable driver to help you seek the compensation you know you deserve for your injuries. In many cases, to help prove the validity of a claim, your attorney will bring in an expert witness.
What is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is an expert in their field, called in to testify about the specific conditions of your accident claim. Often, an expert witness can draw conclusions based on available evidence. For example, an accident reconstructionist can take a look at the evidence from the scene of an accident, including the damage to the vehicles and any available testimony, and help determine what might have caused or contributed to the car accident.
When Will a Lawyer Call in an Expert Witness?
An expert witness can be part of any phase of a car accident claim, especially if the insurance company tries to contest any element of your claim. Sometimes, the expert witness will appear in court, in an effort to share vital information with the judge and jury that can help them decide in your favor. In other cases, your attorney may turn to an expert witness long before the claim goes to court. An expert witness can help provide vital information that you may use as part of your demand package or to help show the factors that contributed to your accident.
There are several times when your attorney will call in an expert witness to deal with your claim, usually because the insurance company or liable party tries to contest specific information regarding the accident.
1) The insurance company or liable party contests who caused the accident.
Determining liability in a personal injury claim can prove critical. The liable party in a car accident is often the one whose insurance company must take on the financial burden for any expenses associated with the accident. Nevada also has a comparative negligence law that states that you can recover damages in a car accident claim as long as you bear less than 50% of the liability for the accident.
Insurance companies, therefore, may fight hard to prove that their client caused less than 50% of the damage associated with a specific accident. Your attorney may bring in an accident reconstructionist to piece together the events that led to the accident and provide a better picture of liability related to your specific accident.
2) The insurance company contests the extent of your injuries and how they limit your life.
Severe injuries following a car accident can leave you with a great deal of pain and a number of limitations. Often, however, the insurance company will try to contest how those injuries impact your life. For example, the insurance company may try to prove that you could not have suffered the injuries you claim in the car accident, or that, though you may have suffered those injuries, they do not impact your life as much as you claim.
Your attorney may then bring in a medical expert: someone who understands the full extent of your injuries and the difficulties they may represent in your life. The medical expert may review your medical files or even conduct a personal medical exam in an effort to fully understand your injuries and their impact on your everyday life.
3) You have suffered severe mental health impact as a result of your car accident.
Car accidents can cause as much mental impact as they do physical impact. Post-traumatic stress disorder is common in car accident victims. These challenges can quickly begin to impact your daily life. If you have severe mental and emotional impact from your car accident, your attorney may bring in a mental health expert to testify about the extent of those mental health challenges and how they impact your life.
4) You permanently lost the ability to handle your usual job duties as a result of your car accident.
Sometimes, car accident injuries can cause catastrophic loss, not just physically, but economically, as well. Spinal cord injury victims, for example, may lose the ability to safely navigate a construction site. Victims with traumatic brain injury may lose the ability to work with customers, to complete creative tasks, or even to work in an office setting, especially if they have ongoing cognitive challenges or problems with emotional regulation. If you have permanently lost the ability to work in your industry, your attorney may call in an economic professional to testify about the value of your lost wages and the compensation you deserve as a result.
5) Outside factors, including defective road conditions, contributed heavily to your accident.
In addition to the common factors that contribute to many accidents, including distracted drivers or speeding, sometimes, road conditions, defective street signs, or poor maintenance of greenery that hangs over the road can contribute heavily to an accident. If road conditions make it difficult for drivers to see or stop, or if road damage actively causes an accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the city for lack of maintenance. Your attorney may call in an engineer to discuss the damage, how it contributed to your accident, and the city’s responsibility in keeping up with those challenges.
6) Your accident involved a driver distracted by a cell phone.
Cell phone use can cause immense distraction on the road. Your lawyer may call in a cell phone specialist to look over the other driver’s records and show cell phone use at the time of the accident, which can help strengthen your claim.
A personal injury attorney often has a wide range of specialists on call in case they are needed during a car accident claim. Do you need access to expert witnesses for your car accident claim? Do you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you seek the compensation you deserve? Contact Gina Corena & Associates today for a free consultation.