What is an Expert Witness in a Texas Personal Injury Case?

If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, you are likely entitled to recover damages. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for emotional pain and suffering. But to bring a successful claim against the at-fault party, it is essential to prove that  their negligence caused the accident, and that you suffered actual damages as a result.

At DeHoyos Law, we have helped countless injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve following an injury accident. Sometimes fault is easy to determine and prove, but more often than not, it’s one person’s word against another’s. To determine who is at fault, it becomes necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, gather substantiating evidence, and sometimes enlist the help of an expert witness. If you have been harmed, contact DeHoyos Law today at 832-745-4878.

What is a Texas Personal Injury Expert Witness?

An expert witness is an individual with knowledge beyond that of the average layperson in a particular field. This individual is tasked with expressing his/her expert opinion on a matter of dispute in a court case. When details of a case are outside the judge’s and jury’s scope of knowledge, an expert witness may be called upon to weigh in on the case.

For example, if a surgeon is being sued for malpractice, a judge and jury without medical training may find it difficult to decide if the surgeon acted negligently. As such, another surgeon may be called in as an expert witness to provide his/her opinion about whether the surgeon’s actions constituted a failure to provide a reasonable level of care.

We commonly hear about medical doctors and forensic specialists being used as expert witnesses, but a specialist in just about any field can be called as an expert witness. And both sides of a case may call their own experts to testify. When this happens, each side’s lawyer may try to discredit the other’s expert witness, further complicating an already complex matter. This is one of the reasons it is so important to work with a skilled Houston personal injury lawyer if you have been harmed by the negligence of another. Contact DeHoyos Law today at 832-745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

In Texas, expert witnesses from the following fields are commonly called to assist in personal injury cases: 

  • Medical doctors
  • Pain management specialists
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Phone record analysts
  • Medical examiners
  • Car accident reconstructionists

An expert witness must have skill, knowledge, education, training, and experience in a field relevant to the case. Generally speaking, expert witnesses are called to provide their opinion about one piece of evidence, not the entire case. In addition, they can only testify about what they actually observed.

Qualifications of an Expert Witness

Being an “expert” in one’s field is the most obvious requirement of an expert witness, but it is not the only one. To be admissible, an expert witness must:

  • Practice in a field that is relevant to the dispute;
  • Be highly skilled in this field, with a level of knowledge above and beyond that of judge and jury;
  • Have adequate training, education, and/or practical experience in this field.

There are also requirements pertaining to the information provided to the expert witness and how it is used. The expert witness’ testimony must be based on factual information with sufficient data to develop an informed opinion. Furthermore, the expert witness must use accepted methods and principles common to his/her particular field to evaluate the data.

How an Expert Witness Can Help

When a particular aspect of the accident or injury is disputed, an expert witness can help to resolve the dispute. Consider the following scenario as an example:

Bob is injured in a T-bone accident caused by Larry. Bob claims that he suffered whiplash as a result of the accident, but Larry’s defense is that a T-bone accident is very unlikely to cause whiplash. Bob’s attorney calls a spinal injury specialist as an expert witness, and the specialist testifies that whiplash is actually quite common in T-bone crashes.

Although hiring an expert witness is not free, doing so may be the difference between a substantial settlement and little to no settlement at all. An experienced Texas injury lawyer will analyze your case to determine if hiring an expert witness will be helpful, and if doing so makes financial sense.

Contact DeHoyos Law Today

If you have been injured by another’s negligent or reckless actions, the skilled legal team at DeHoyos Law can help. Our experienced lawyers have been successfully representing victims of personal injury in Houston for decades, and we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. We have an extensive network of reliable and respected expert witnesses on hand for injury cases that require this type of specialized help. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other costs. Do not attempt to navigate this complex process on your own; we can help. Contact DeHoyos Law today at 832-745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.