As an accident victim, you are not permitted to prove primarily through your own testimony that the other driver or property owner was negligent and at fault for your accident. That is the role of the expert witness. Skillful legal counsel will identify whether and when an expert is needed. S/he will know what expert to consult and to involve in the case.
For example, you are enjoying yourself at a nightclub when a fight breaks out. Everyone at the club stampedes for the doors and you are knocked down, breaking your leg. The judge and jury will not assume just because you were injured there that the club is responsible. Rather, it is your responsibility as the plaintiff to prove that the club was negligent in some way. Thus, it may be necessary to retain a security expert to evaluate the operation, layout, lighting, personnel and exits of the club to determine whether a reasonably safe environment was afforded. The expert may review videotapes and photographs in the course of his evaluation. He may also review the statements and deposition transcripts of eyewitnesses and club security personnel. Prior history of incidents in the club and in the neighborhood are also relevant and should be investigated.
Ultimately, the security expert will prepare a report with all of his findings and conclusions. The defense may choose to take the expert’s deposition. It may also hire its own security expert to prove that the nightclub was operated in a reasonably safe manner. That expert will also provide a report and be deposed. If your case goes to trial, these experts are likely to testify, and the jury will need to determine which one is correct – the so called “battle of the experts”. Your attorney has a critical role in working with all of your experts to ensure that their testimony is clear, easily understood and presented in a persuasive way. In that way, you will receive the fair compensation that you deserve.