The standard for expert witnesses in Tulsa car accident cases is called the Daubert Standard, a federal regulation that Oklahoma adopted. This standard comes from a line of cases that were ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court and is known as the Daubert Doctrine, which lays out five elements that judges can use to allow someone to testify as an expert witness.
If someone wants to submit a witness as an expert witness to the court, the court can use its discretion when deciding whether or not to allow that person to testify as an expert. An experienced car accident lawyer could help a plaintiff determine whether an expert witness could bolster their case and work with them to find and retain one qualified to speak on their particular circumstances.
The Daubert Standard establishes several requirements to be considered an expert witness by the court. First, the theory or technique that the expert uses to develop their opinion must be widely accepted by the scientific community. Second, their theory or technique element must have been subjected to peer review and, thirdly, have been and can be tested.
The fourth element is whether the build or potential rate of error is acceptable within a certain range in that particular field. The fifth element addresses whether research was conducted independently of the case.
A witness cannot become an expert using a peer-reviewed technique or by applying those techniques only to facts of the case. The techniques must have been researched independently of the case in order to be provided as part of one’s proposed testimony.
The types of expert witnesses utilized in Tulsa car accident cases usually depend on the facts of the case. If the case is centered on a faulty car or manufacturer’s defect, for example, the attorney might use mechanical engineers to discuss why that particular part failed. If it was an accident, accident reconstructionists could be called upon to demonstrate how the accident was caused and describe the forces that were involved based on the speed and the direction of travel of the cars.
Expert witnesses typically do not have existing relationships with the plaintiff, and the court often discourages it. In the pre-trial phase, attorneys must disclose to each other the experts that they are going to call as witnesses, and during cross-examination, the defense may make the plaintiff’s expert witness testimony to any kind of relationship that they have with the plaintiff.
If there is an existing relationship, the defense could raise it to the judge or present it to the jury and assert that the expert is biased because of it. Attorneys usually avoid choosing experts who have standing relationships with the plaintiff, because if the defense can show bias through that relationship, the expert’s credibility will diminish.
A car accident attorney might suggest using an expert witness during a Tulsa car crash trial to prove that the facts of the case as presented by the attorney are true. The Daubert Doctrine is important because people tend to listen to those who are experts in their field, so suggesting to use an expert witness could be a key part of an attorney’s strategy to prove the liability of another party.
Juries typically give more weight to expert witness testimonies than they do to lay witnesses who might simply give their opinion without any particular expertise. The court may advise the jury that they do not have to take the expert’s testimony as fact, but since it is ultimately up to the jurors to determine the credibility and weight of any witness who testifies for any case, experts may better serve a plaintiff’s interests over lay witnesses.
In some situations, though, an expert witness might not be wanted for a case due to costs. Experts are not cheap, and when an attorney has an auto accident case, there are many expenses to consider.
For instance, if the plaintiff has minimum coverage or a minimum insurance policy in Oklahoma, which is $25,000 of coverage for each individual, and they need an expert whose time will cost $20,000, it might not be financially viable to have that expert testify. If insurance limits one’s case and there is no money to spend on an expert, the expert might not be utilized.
Depending on the circumstances of a civil claim based on a car wreck, you may benefit significantly from having an expert testify on your behalf to support you and your attorney’s interpretation of events. For more information about expert witnesses in Tulsa car accident cases, get in touch with an experienced car crash lawyer and schedule an initial consultation.