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The use of Experts in Personal Injury Cases - Ottawa Accident Lawyers

Published on: Sunday December 02, 2012
The use of Experts in Personal Injury Cases - Ottawa Accident Lawyers One of a lawyer’s greatest assets for his client when proceeding to trial is an experienced expert witness. Witness testimony is usually limited to what the person actually saw or experienced without room for personal opinions - called direct evidence. Expert witnesses however are permitted to provide opinions to the Court based on the facts presented to them as they have no direct knowledge of the facts. The quality and influence of an expert witnesses’ opinion depends largely on their qualifications as well as their ability to effectively communicate and be understood, and most importantly believed and preferred by a judge or jury. Before retaining the services of an expert, our Ottawa injury lawyers research into their professional qualifications, credibility and ability to act as a trial witness. We always request a copy any potential witness’ CV. When an expert is retained and will give evidence for you, you will be required to provide most of the information in the CV to the opposing counsel and party. The expert’s CV provides an introduction to their qualifications, expertise as well as expose any inconsistences, credibility issues or issues of bias for that expert. When reviewing an expert’s CV, it is important to be critical. If something sounds too good to be true or not quite right be sure to speak to the expert about these issues before retaining their services. Any exaggerations or out of date information on an expert’s CV can harm their credibility with a judge or jury and make their testimony harmful to your case. Opposing counsel have the opportunity to cross-examine your expert at trial. In Ontario, before an expert is able to give verbal testimony at a trial, they are require to complete a written expert’s report which must conform to the requirement of the Rules of Civil Procedure, including service on opposing counsel. Rule 53.03 details what an expert’s report needs to include as follows: 1. The name, address and area of expertise of the expert; 2. The qualifications, employment and educational experience in area of expertise; 3. The instructions given to the expert; 4. The nature of the opinion being sought and each issue in the proceeding to which the opinion relates; 5. The opinion of the expert on each issue, where there are several opinions, a summary of these opinions and the reason’s for the experts opinion with the range of opinions; 6. The expert’s reasons for his or her opinion including i. The factual assumptions that support their opinion ii. Any research conducted by the expert that formed their opinion iii. A list of every document relied on by the expert in support of their opinion 7. An acknowledgment of expert’s duty signed by the expert. After a written report has been submitted and served according with the Rules of Civil Procedure, it is important that your lawyer meets with the expert to begin preparing for testimony at a trial or hearing. Some experts are very comfortable with giving verbal testimony, others struggle or are inexperienced and will require more preparation. When preparing an expert witness for trial it is important to throughly prepare them with regards to presenting their qualifications and credentials. A practice run of the examination and cross-examination can be very helpful when preparing an expert to present their qualifications. This will allow your witness to give the strongest possible introduction at trial. The success of a personal injury case can be greatly improved by a properly chosen and prepared expert witness. Experts are costly so it is important to take the time to research and find the best expert for your case. Working with your expert before trial is the best strategy for success. In order to properly prepare your witness you should practice how the witness will present their qualification and credentials, explain the case and all legal tests, standards and terms that are applicable and have the expert communicate in an easy to understand language so that a judge or jury will be able to understand their opinions. A successful preparation leads to a successful action and in the end the extra time you spend preparing your witness will have been well spent. Ottawa accident and injury lawyers 613-315-4878 (Marc-Nicholas Quinn, Accident Lawyer) Free Consultations! No fee until you win!