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What Role Do Expert Witnesses Play in Complex Injury Litigation?

April 16, 2024

Expert witnesses often play a key role in complex injury litigation, and having a team of qualified experts on your side can be essential for recovering the full compensation you deserve.

The experienced attorneys at Coplan + Crane have extensive experience with complex injury litigation. We understand the intricacies of Illinois law, and we know how to build a strong case on behalf of our clients. By conducting thorough investigations, examining key evidence, and enlisting the support of expert witnesses, we have established a proven record of success for our clients in Chicago and beyond.

What exactly does an expert witness do? Why is it worth engaging expert witnesses for your personal injury case? Here is an overview of what you need to know: 

Understanding the Types of Expert Witnesses in Complex Injury Litigation

Expert witnesses can help with all aspects of complex injury litigation, from proving why an accident happened to proving how much an accident victim is entitled to recover. There are many different types of expert witnesses, and the type (or types) of expert witnesses your law firm will need to engage will depend heavily on the facts of your case. The types of expert witnesses that law firms often engage to assist with complex injury litigation include:

  • Forensic investigators 
  • Forensic engineers
  • Accident reconstructionists 
  • Toxicologists 
  • Medical experts (i.e., orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, and other specialists) 
  • Psychiatrists and psychologists 
  • Physical, occupational, and vocational therapists 
  • Speech therapists 
  • Pain management specialists 
  • Accountants and financial planners 
  • Life care planners

Even these are just examples. The nature of your accident and the severity of your injuries will both play a key role in determining which type (or types) of expert witnesses can help with establishing your right to just compensation. 

Understanding How Expert Witnesses Can Help with Your Case

When you have a personal injury case, you need evidence to prove your legal rights. When the evidence is complicated, expert witnesses can help the factfinder (either the judge or jury) understand what they need to know in order to reach an informed and just verdict. 

With this in mind, here are four ways that expert witnesses can help prove victims’ legal rights in complex injury litigation: 

1. Explaining the Evidence of Liability 

From dangerous property conditions to defective vehicle components, personal injury cases frequently involve issues that are completely foreign to the factfinder. Experienced expert witnesses can help to simplify the complex, using imagery and plain language to clearly explain the issues that are central to the victim’s case. 

2. Establishing Causation 

Causation is a key element in all complex injury litigation. To establish a victim’s legal rights, the victim must be able to prove not only that the defendant was negligent or sold a defective product, but also that this negligence or defect caused the victim’s injuries. Accident reconstructionists, forensic engineers, and other types of expert witnesses can connect the dots to clearly demonstrate that defendants are liable for victims’ injury-related losses. 

3. Disputing the Defense’s Evidence

Another way that expert witnesses can help with complex injury litigation is by calling the validity, accuracy, or reliability of the defense’s evidence into question. While your lawyers will be presenting evidence in support of your claim for damages, defense lawyers will be presenting evidence intended to cast doubt on your case. 

Along with introducing evidence in support of your case, expert witnesses can also testify regarding any evidence put forth by the defense. Your legal team’s expert witnesses can help ensure that the factfinder has a full understanding of all relevant facts, and can identify faulty assumptions and other issues that limit the probative value of the defense’s evidence. 

4. Demonstrating How Much You Deserve to Recover

Finally, expert witnesses can also help with demonstrating how much you are entitled to recover. When you are entitled to just compensation after a serious accident, your out-of-pocket costs to date represent just a small fraction of the total value of your claim. You are also entitled to just compensation for your future out-of-pocket costs as well as your emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other non-financial losses.

Expert witnesses such as medical specialists, accountants, and life care planners can help paint a clear picture of the total lifetime costs of your injuries. When you are involved in complex injury litigation, engaging these types of experts is critical for ensuring that you are seeking the full compensation you deserve. 

Learn More in a FREE & Confidential Consultation with a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

Were you seriously injured in an accident in Illinois? If so, it is important that you speak with a lawyer about filing a claim as soon as possible. 

To speak with a Chicago personal injury lawyer at Coplan + Crane for FREE, call 708-358-8080 or request a FREE and confidential consultation online today. We serve clients in Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.