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  • Expert Witness

  • An expert witness is a technical and paid professional who is needed and used to interpret complex technical issues to a court or jury. Expert witnesses can make or break a case. For example, a landslide case would likely demand the retention of a geological expert, and possibly a hydrological expert (land failures almost always involve water). If trees are lost, an aboriculture expert would be needed to establish the cause of tree deaths and the value of the trees. Expert witnesses are typically retained by both the plaintiffs and the defendants in a case.

    An attorney must be familiar with the technical issues in a matter in order to obtain proper and competent expert witnesses. In addition, the attorney retained must understand the science at issue, and be able to speak the technical language of the expert. An attorney must also be technically knowledgeable in order to successfully negate the testimony of opposing expert witnesses. Without such knowledge, an attorney can be ran around in circles by opposing expert witnesses as well as opposing attorneys ­resulting in failure.

    It is important to hire expert witnesses that are competent, credible and ethical. Many experts will say or do anything for a high hourly rate ­ and they are often perceived as dishonest by judges and juries. Such unethical expert witnesses develop false theories that can be exposed by a technically competent attorney, and moreover they lack the simple conviction of truth. One must always remember that ethical litigation is an effort to reveal the truth of a matter, not to deceive people.