The Role of Expert Witnesses in Auto Accident Cases
If you are hurt in an automobile accident and your injuries are more than minor, it may be necessary to hire experts to determine your physical condition, the damage to your motor vehicle and the accident scene in order to develop the evidence that will support your claim for monetary compensation.
Experts prepare reports which are given to insurance company lawyers. The experts are usually deposed before trial. A well-prepared expert report, and an expert who can testify professionally and competently, can go a long way in helping your auto accident attorney obtain an appropriate settlement or, if need be, win at trial.
There are several types of experts who may be retained. An accident reconstructionist is a person who can help determine the cause of a crash by examining the damage to your car, studying photos of the accident scene, reading police reports and analyzing the accident scene itself (for instance, measuring tire skid marks to determine the speed and direction of a vehicle at the time of the accident).
If brake or tire failure caused the accident, or faulty seat belts or airbags led to your injuries, an automobile engineering expert can examine your car to determine the reason for the failure.
Highway safety experts are often used when a cause of the accident is believed to be a defect in the roadway. The design of the roadway or the placement of signage, curbing and/or barriers could have been contributing factors. An embankment, construction site or structure placed too close to the roadway can also lead to auto accidents. The highway safety expert can identify these factors contributing to the accident’s cause.
Another area of expertise is the distractive effect of driver’s use of cell phones and other devices while at the wheel. Distracted drivers cause a significant number of accidents on California’s roadways. If the at-fault driver was texting or speaking on a cell phone, a cell phone records expert can retrieve data from the phone and from cell towers to confirm when and for how long the at-fault driver was occupied on the device.
If you have been injured, you will have been examined and treated by your doctor and perhaps by others. A medical expert retained by your attorney can examine you and review your medical records to confirm your injuries, your current condition and whether and to what extent your injuries will affect your state of health the future.
An experienced California auto accident attorney can determine what types of experts to retain to assist in getting your case favorably resolved, either by settlement or at trial. Patterson Law combines the experience of a large firm with the personal attention of a small firm. We primarily serve Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, though we work with clients from Los Angeles and San Francisco as well. Initial consultations are free. Call us at 888-479-4589 or contact us online.