Expert Witness

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    February 17 2020

    What is an Expert Witness?

    Personal injury cases can involve a wide variety of witnesses. These individuals can be crucial to proving your case and supporting your claim for damages. However, not all witnesses are created equal. There are two types of witnesses, lay witnesses, and expert witnesses.

    What is an expert witness? An expert witness in an individual with special knowledge, skill, experience, training or education. An expert witness may give their opinion while testifying. Generally, lay witnesses may not provide their opinions.

    There are two categories of expert witnesses, consulting and testifying. A consulting expert advises the litigation team in preparation of litigation.  This type of expert does not testify during any part of the litigation process. A testifying expert provides testimony during trial. Opposing counsel can cross-examine a testifying expert.

    If you’ve been injured in a car accident, seek legal help from an experienced personal injury lawyer. An experienced Las Vegas personal lawyer will help you retain the experts you need. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of lawyers and staff ready to help you with your personal injury case.

    Expert Admissibility Standards

    Your attorney may call several witnesses to provide testimony regarding your accident. If your attorney calls an expert witness, they will have to meet certain standards. These standards determine whether or not the expert’s testimony is admissible. If the expert’s testimony is not admissible, then you cannot use it in trial to help your case.

    The standards of expert witness admissibility are not uniform throughout the United States. Not all states agree as to what an expert witness is. Most states follow one of two approaches regarding the standard for admissibility of expert opinions. Frye is one approach. Daubert is the other approach. Nevada applies its own state statute in determining the admissibility of expert opinions.

    Frye Admissibility Standard

    Frye is a D.C. Circuit case, Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923). Frye states that an expert opinion is admissible if:

    • the scientific technique on which the opinion is based is “generally accepted” as reliable in the relevant scientific community.

    A court applying this “general acceptance” must determine:

    • whether or not the method by which that evidence was obtained was generally accepted by experts in the particular field in which it belongs.

    Only a handful of states apply the Frye “general acceptance” test.  The following states apply Frye to expert testimony:

    • California
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Pennsylvania
    • Washington

    The Daubert Admissibility Standard

    Daubert is a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Daubert describes the function of trial judges as “gatekeepers” and offers a list of factors to consider. The factors assist a judge in determining the admissibility of an expert’s testimony.

    The Daubert guidelines consist of five factors of consideration:

    1. Whether the theory or technique in question can be and has been tested.
    2. Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication.
    3. Its known or potential error rate.
    4. The existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation.
    5. Whether it has attracted widespread acceptance within a relevant scientific community.

    A majority of states apply the Daubert “general acceptance” test.  The following states apply Daubert to expert testimony:

    • Alabama
    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Georgia
    • Hawaii
    • Idaho
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • Nebraska
    • New Hampshire
    • New Mexico
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • South Carolina
    • South Dakota
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Vermont
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin
    • Wyoming

    Expert admissibility standards are complex. Because of this lack of uniformity, it is critical that you hire an experienced lawyer licensed in your state. Anthem Injury Lawyers are experienced in handling personal injury cases in Nevada. Contact us at (702) 857-6000 or online to set up a free consultation.

    What is an Expert Witness in Nevada?

    In Nevada, neither Frye nor Daubert defines an expert witness. Instead, the courts use the Nevada Revised Statutes to define an expert witness. The standards for expert witnesses in Nevada are more permissible than Daubert. Unlike Daubert, the testimony in Nevada does not have to have a precise methodology to be admissible.

    Nevada Revised Statute 50.275 Testimony by experts. states:

    • If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by special knowledge, skill, experience, training or education may testify to matters within the scope of such knowledge.

    Under NRS 50.275 there are three elements for admission of expert witness testimony:

    1. The expert must be qualified.
    2. Their testimony must assist the fact-finder (judge or jury).
    3. The expert may not testify beyond the scope of their specialized expertise.

    If a driver injures you or a loved one in a car accident, you should speak to a licensed Nevada injury lawyer.  An experienced injury lawyer can assist you with your case and find expert witnesses to support your claims. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of lawyers and staff ready to help you with your personal injury case.

    Now that you know more about expert witnesses, how their testimony can affect your case and specific details about expert witnesses in Nevada, you may wish to speak to a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer about your own situation. If you’ve been injured in an accident, have our attorneys determine if and how expert witnesses can help support your case. We offer free case evaluations.  Our office is located in Henderson and we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley. This includes North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Spring Valley, Anthem, and the Strip. Contact us today for a free consultation at (702) 857-6000.

    Types of Expert Witnesses

    Expert witnesses come from a multitude of fields that provide them with special knowledge, skills, experience, training or education. A title or education does not limit who can be an expert witness. The following individuals are some of those individuals commonly called as expert witnesses:

    • Doctors
    • Surgeons
    • Mental Health Professionals
    • Department of Transportation Regulations Specialist
    • First Responders
    • Phone Records Specialist
    • Electronic Control Module Specialist
    • Event Data Recorder Specialist
    • Forensic Toxicologist
    • Neurologist
    • Orthopedic Surgeon
    • Medical Examiner
    • Pain Management Specialist
    • Life Care Planner
    • Vocational Specialist
    • Rehabilitation Specialist
    • Medical Expert
    • Highway Safety Expert
    • Accident Reconstructionist
    • Economist

    For additional information regarding the different types of expert witnesses, see our previous article on Different Types of Expert Witnesses.

    Expert Witness Testimony

    An expert witness can assist with a variety of aspects of your case. Your lawyer may call a medical professional to testify regarding:

    • Extent of Injuries
    • Injury and Healing Prognosis
    • Mental Health
    • Pain and Suffering
    • Disability

    A lawyer may call highway safety experts and reconstructionists to testify regarding:

    • Accident Road Conditions
    • Accident Reconstruction

    A phone records specialist may testify regarding phone use during the time of the accident.

    An electronic control module specialist or event data recorder specialist may interpret the provided data. The specialist may use the data to provide an opinion regarding the vehicle’s actions immediately prior to an accident.

    Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers

    If another party injures you in a motor vehicle accident, you should seek medical help immediately. Once you have received medical help, seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. The experienced team at Anthem Injury Lawyers can help protect your rights and get you the personal injury settlement that you deserve.

    If you are looking for a law firm with experienced personal injury attorneys who offer an extensive background on obtaining expert witnesses to successfully support clients’ claims, then contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today.  We are the Las Vegas personal injury law firm that can provide you with the representation you need when you’ve suffered injuries in an accident. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000.  We offer Free Consultations.

    Published by Anthony Golden

    Attorney Anthony B. Golden (“Tony”) is one of the founding partners of Anthem Injury Lawyers. Tony represents clients in all aspects of personal injury cases, from pre-litigation through jury trials and appeals. Tony has a proven track record of successfully representing clients in trials, arbitration, and appeals, as well as assisting clients in resolving high-value cases in mediation.

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