Expert Witnesses Often Are Keys to Trial

Article excerpt

Expert witnesses are seen on television dramas, read about in high-profile trials, and, more often than not, can make or break a case. Who are these expert witnesses, what are their qualifications, and where do they come from? According to foot and ankle surgeon Ivar Roth of Newport Beach. Calif., former president and board member of the Forensic Consultants Association of Orange County, expert witnesses are those who testify under oath about the physical details of a given case and state their conclusions and opinions about them.

"Lawyers are advocates for their clients. They usually have no specialized training or skill in the technical disciplines that may be the subject or part of the litigation. Expert witnesses are often called in to offer facts and opinions that may be used to support the attorney's position or allegations. Now, more than ever, issues in litigation are requiring the services of expert witnesses to enlighten judges and juries on technical matters and standards of care for industry issues related to the cases brought before them.

"An expert witness could be a chemist, hypnotherapist, engineer, and psychiatrist or a human resource manager, physicist, laboratory technician, or accountant. They can be from any profession or of a special skill as long as they have the ability to assess and evaluate conditions on a case related to their individual fields of specialty. When choosing an expert witness, attorneys look for those with qualifications that will help them establish who or what might be involved or the cause of issues in the lawsuit, thus adding substance to their position or allegations. Interestingly, one's level of education is far less important than their knowledge and level of experience in their field. …