Suffering a serious injury can be a devastating experience, and one that leaves you with high medical bills, financial losses in the form of lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been seriously injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be considering filing a personal injury case.
Before you file your personal injury case on your own, though, understanding the different elements of a personal injury case, and the benefits of working with a skilled lawyer, can be helpful. One of the most important reasons to consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is that they will have longstanding relationships with specialists, and the resources to bring in expert witnesses.
Why Are Expert Witnesses Important in a Personal Injury Case?
Winning a personal injury case can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal system and are pursuing damages unrepresented. This is because there are four set elements of a personal injury claim that you must prove in order to recover compensation. These are:
- Duty of care;
- Breach of duty of care;
- Causation; and
Essentially, you must prove that the party against whom you’re filing a civil action owed you a duty of care, breached the duty of care owed to you as a result of their negligence, that this negligence was the direct cause of your accident, and that you suffered actual damages as a result.
Proving these four elements will take more than just your opinion; instead, hard evidence is a must. This is especially true in Alabama, where the courts apply the legal doctrine known as “contributory negligence” in personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, any party that shares fault for an accident and subsequent injury is barred from recovering damages. This makes it all the more important to compile various forms of evidence and develop a rock-solid case.
One of the best ways to put the evidence of the case in proper perspective for the judge or jury and help substantiate your claim is through the opinion of expert witnesses.
Common Types of Expert Witnesses
There are a number of different expert witness types that may be useful in your case. Examples include medical professionals (doctors, medical specialists, psychiatrists, etc.); accident reconstruction specialists; forensic specialists; financial experts; and more. These experts can be used to offer insight into how your accident occurred, whether or not the defendant breached the duty of care owed to you, and the value of the losses you have suffered.
It is important to note that not only are expert witnesses important in personal injury claims, often providing expert opinion that is undisputed about how an accident occurred or the severity of related injuries, but that their opinions are sometimes required. For example, in a medical malpractice case, you must hire an expert who can attest to the fact that the defendant breached the medical standard of care.
Are Expert Witnesses Expensive?
One of the biggest barriers to working with an expert witness is that expert witnesses are typically very expensive to hire. In fact, hiring an expert to work on your case or testify as part of your suit can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. One report found that just an initial review from an expert is a few hundred dollars on average, and that a deposition is even more expensive. Fees for certain specialties, like plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons, are higher.
The expenses that are associated with expert witnesses often make hiring them unrealistic for the average person who has suffered serious injuries, is dealing with financial losses, and is pursuing damages without professional legal representation.
Our Law Firm Has the Resources Necessary to Hire Experts for Your Case
Deciding between bolstering your case, potentially recovering the maximum amount of compensation available to you, and forking out hundreds of dollars for experts’ fees can be a tough decision. In some cases, you simply may not have the cash, meaning that recruiting an expert is inaccessible.
When you work with the personal injury lawyers at the offices of McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP, hiring experts is not something you need to worry about. Our lawyers cover 100 percent of the fees associated with your case, including experts’ fees, and never request upfront payments from you. Instead, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that if your case is successful and you recover a settlement, we will be paid an agreed upon percentage of your winnings. If you don’t win, we don’t collect a payment.
Schedule a Consultation Today
To learn more about the role of expert witnesses in a personal injury case and how our firm can help you, please call us at 334-262-1911 or visit our Montgomery law office in person. Consultations are offered free of charge.