While they do not get the bulk of attention at trial, and there has never been a movie about them, expert witnesses are easily one of the most important parts of any trial. Whether it is a trial about complex financial issues or litigation dealing with construction cases, having an expert witness on board can provide critical assistance that allows a plaintiff to win a big civil award or a defendant to avoid a big payout. One might say that expert witness testimony is a life saver in the bigger context of a civil trial.
The value of expert witnesses can only be understood through the lens of their persuasive ability. Expert witnesses are important because they appear to not have an agenda. Defendants can lie because they have an incentive to do so. Plaintiffs might lie because a well-told lie will lead to a big payday. Many jurors refuse to trust lawyers, too, because of years of programming that tells them how dishonest lawyers are. Expert witnesses, though, are neutral parties in a world of people who are trying to win the votes of jurors. This is why they are so critical in any big time case.
Expert witnesses also provide assistance to lawyers in understanding the issues. They aren’t just people who get on the stand and parrot back some answers. Instead, they are people who can provide full consulting with lawyers to ensure those lawyers understand the complex issues at hand. There are often angles that lawyers simply do not see because they are looking at the case through their legal training. Having an expert witness in your corner ensures that you are seeing different angles that can be helpful to sorting out precisely what happened. More than that, experts give lawyers a sense of what they should and should not say in order to have the most persuasive impact on the jury.
It’s often said that the best lawyer will win in any given trial. While lawyers are surely an important part of any case, they never do things alone. They often have the help of expert witnesses who can turn an average case into a strong one. It’s an up-front investment that can pay off in a big way for lawyers and litigants who are smart enough to go out and hire the best.