Pursuing financial compensation as the victim of a car crash in Texas may require proving your injuries, as well as the other driver’s fault, through a preponderance of the evidence. This refers to enough evidence to establish that at least 50% of the fault for the accident rests with the defendant. Evidence can take many forms. One type is witness testimony. The two kinds of witnesses are eyewitnesses and expert witnesses. Both could be integral to proving your car accident claim in Texas.
Expert Witness vs. Eyewitnesses
An eyewitness is someone who saw your car accident happen. An eyewitness was on the scene when the two vehicles collided. Eyewitnesses can provide important testimony about how the crash occurred and who is to blame. They can also describe elements such as the weather, road conditions, vehicle speeds and other important details. After a car accident, obtaining the names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses can be an important step in evidence gathering.
An expert witness is someone hired after a car crash to assist with the claims process. It is a professional who is an expert in his or her area of expertise – someone with many years of hands-on and/or teaching experience in the field. An expert witness did not see the crash happen, but may have useful knowledge or information to lend to the case after reviewing its facts. An expert witness can give qualified testimony to help a judge and jury understand complicated or nuanced issues related to a crash case.
Types of Expert Witnesses for a Car Accident Claim
An expert witness might be necessary during a car accident claim in Texas if the crash involves complex matters that are confusing or difficult for the average person to understand. Expert witnesses break down complicated concepts that are beyond general knowledge. Either side of the case, the plaintiff or defendant, may hire expert witnesses to speak on the facts of a case. Not every case requires expert witnesses. A car accident case with complicated elements may rely on many different types of expert witnesses to clarify information.
- Injury experts. Experts in the medical field, such as physicians or surgeons, can testify as to the plaintiff’s injuries, treatment plans, costs and recovery. Medical experts are one of the most common types during injury claims.
- Mental health experts. A psychologist or mental health expert can testify as to the plaintiff’s emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and quality of life.
- Accident reconstructionists. A crash reconstruction expert could explain how and why the car accident happened based on an examination of available evidence.
- Traffic safety experts. Experts in elements such as traffic flow, highway design and road maintenance could testify as to the conditions of the road at the time of the wreck.
- Engineering experts. Engineers can address the technical aspects of a vehicle collision, such as damage to physical property in the crash.
- Vocational experts. A vocational expert could be useful in establishing a plaintiff’s lost wages and lost earning capacity due to a long-term or permanent disability.
- A party might bring in an expert accountant or economist to help establish the existence of monetary damages – especially when calculating long-term costs.
If your San Antonio car accident attorney believes hiring an expert could help your case, he or she may reach out to the law firm’s connections to bring in the right person. Many attorneys offer to pay the costs of hiring an expert – which can be substantial – upfront for the client. Then, the client will repay the lawyer out of a settlement or judgment won later. Otherwise, the lawyer may charge the client upfront for litigation-related costs, including the price of hiring an expert to testify. Discuss your specific car accident case, needs and costs with an attorney for more information about expert witnesses.