How Can an Expert Witness Help My Truck Accident Case?

How Can an Expert Witness Help My Truck Accident Case?Accidents with large and commercial trucks tend to be much worse than collisions with passenger cars and vehicles. With big trucks come big crashes, big damage, and big injuries – mostly to you and your car. Even when it’s obvious the truck driver was at fault for the accident, these types of cases can be difficult to put in front of an insurance company. Commercial truck accidents often involve a variety of liable parties, federal and state regulations, an understanding of how truck mechanics work, and a detailed accounting of your injuries and losses.

After serious injury in a Kansas City, MO truck accident, you don’t want to go it alone. An experienced attorney not only helps build a successful injury claim, but also works with expert witnesses to bolster the strength of your claim. Keep reading to find out what an expert witness is, what one does, and why one can be so important to your truck accident case.

What does an expert witness do?

No doubt you’ve heard of witnesses in a court case, whether you’ve seen one in real life or in movies and television shows. A witness is someone who takes the stand and provides a statement regarding the court case at hand. However, unlike what we sometimes see on television, not just anyone can burst into the courtroom and offer a statement. Both witnesses and expert witnesses must be qualified to do so, and there are differences between the two:

  • A witness is an individual who testifies during a legal proceeding about events they saw, observed, or heard firsthand. In the case of a truck accident, this could be a person who saw your accident happen, a passenger in your car, or another driver involved in the crash. A witness can’t offer their opinion about what happened, however; they are only permitted to make factual statements about the accident (“just the facts, ma’am.”).
  • An expert witness, on the other hand, has special training and skills that allow them to evaluate a truck accident and form a knowledgeable opinion to the court about what likely occurred. Expert witnesses, although they didn’t observe the accident personally, have professional education and recognized expertise that allows them to provide an informed opinion to the court. In a nutshell, an expert witness can help show fault in the accident that caused you or your loved one serious injury.

It’s also important to understand what an expert witness is not permitted to do. Expert witnesses cannot:

  • Provide opinions outside their areas of expertise
  • Offer advice to any party
  • Argue or defend your claim
  • Negotiate on behalf of you or your attorney
  • Take any case with a conflict of interest
  • Take any case with conditional terms

Expert witnesses and your Kansas City, MO truck accident case

As we mentioned earlier, determining liability in commercial truck collisions can be more complicated than traditional car crashes. Tractor-trailers and large trucks operate under different industry regulations and standards, utilize a variety of different technologies and mechanics, and have more safety concerns than the typical passenger vehicle.

This can be a lot to remember and absorb for the average juror, but expert witnesses are able to lay out this information in a way that’s easy to understand. For example, expert witnesses can demonstrate:

  • How and why a truck accident happened
  • All liable and at-fault parties
  • The full extent of your physical and emotional injuries
  • The full amount of compensation to which you are entitled

This detailed information gives the court what they need to rule in favor, or show the insurance company that you are in the right and entitled to financial compensation.

However, expert witnesses are not one-size-fits-all. Your attorney may call on one or more experts depending on the specifics of your case.

What are the different types of expert witnesses?

The lawyers at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys can call on a variety of expert witnesses for your truck accident, including experts in:

  • Accident reconstruction – who reconstruct the scene of an accident to determine who was at fault for a crash
  • Finance – accountants will factor in and total all expenses related to your accident (medical, lost wages, pain and suffering) both now and in the future
  • Forensic toxicology – who can prove a link between alcohol or drug impairment and your accident if it applies
  • Mechanics – who can analyze the vehicle to determine whether a mechanical failure or defect led to the crash
  • Medicine – physicians will show the full range of your injuries, and the treatment you need now and for the rest of your life, including medication and follow-up visits
  • Pathology, who work to determine the likely cause of death in fatal truck accidents
  • Psychology – your therapists can demonstrate the mental or emotional effect of the accident
  • Roadway design – who can determine whether things like roadway defects or lack of traffic signage contributed to the truck accident
  • Trucking safety investigation – who will check for any previous safety violations on the part of the trucker or trucking company
  • Vocational/rehabilitation – who can determine your loss of earning capacity caused by your injuries

Can I use an expert witness even if my case doesn’t go to trial?

Yes, you can – even if your case is negotiated out of court, you can still use an expert witness. The lawyers at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys often call upon expert witnesses as consultants to build the strongest claim possible on your behalf. Providing credible and informative expert statements to the insurance company right from the start gives you leverage with the insurance company – and shows them that you have strong, serious legal counsel. Bringing an expert witness into your claim can make it much more difficult for a trucking company or their insurance company to deny it.

Here at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we want to help if you or a loved one were injured in a commercial truck accident. We can tap into our network of expert witnesses to bolster your claim and work to ensure you secure the proper compensation to which you are entitled. To find out how we can help you and your family today, call 816-471-5111 or submit a contact form to schedule a free consultation. We operate offices in Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Parkville and St. Joseph, MO; and Olathe and Overland Park, KS. All offices are by appointment only.