Are Expert Witnesses Necessary to Prove Fault in a Truck Accident Case?
Expert witnesses play pivotal roles in truck accident cases. It is important to understand two elements regarding the role that experts play in truck accident cases: (1) the various ways that expert witnesses can help establish fault in truck accident cases, and (2) the process by which experts must qualify to testify as witnesses in commercial motor vehicle accidents.
How Experts Are Selected in A Truck Accident Case
These are actually two types of experts that can be used during a commercial motor vehicle accident case: non-testifying and testifying.
A non-testifying expert might not testify at court but might be hired to determine whether a commercial motor vehicle was built according to specifications.
Texas courts tend to follow federal law regarding situations when testifying experts are allowed to act as witnesses in truck accident cases. There are four factors that determine that ultimately decide if an accident expert will be testified to provide information regarding the accident. The success with which an accident expert witness largely determines the power of an expert witness.
- An accident expert to qualify as a witness must possess the knowledge and experience necessary to inform the jury about an issue that is central to how the accident occurred or the subsequent lawsuit.
- Texas law requires that an expert must establish knowledge beyond the average person in a particular area that is important to the case at hand. These experts are usually specifically trained with advanced degrees in engineering or physics.
- Expert witnesses must be reliable and trustworthy to be deemed admissible to provide testimony as a witness. For example, an expert may be used to establish the relationship between compliance or lack of compliance upon which the court may reliably draw an inference about the accident or truck involved in the accident.
- A long established rule requires that all evidence used in a court of law must be relevant to the case at hand to be admissible in a court of law. Expert testimony can be essential when the condition of a vehicle is important and served as a cause of the vehicle accident.
How Experts Can Help Win a A Truck Accident Case
Accident experts can help win cases through a variety of various techniques and strategies.
- Determine At Fault. By carefully piecing together various components of the accident, experts can often determine what party was responsible for causing the accident.
- Discredit Opposing Witnesses. Expert reports can be used against opposing witnesses to discredit claims of how accidents occurred.
- Lack of Witnesses. In accident situations, qualified experts through the use of materials that reconstruct the accident can demonstrate how the event occurred when there is a lack of eyewitnesses to the event.
Difficulties Experts Have In Using Evidence About Accidents
There are numerous reasons that an expert might have difficulty establishing evidence to prove various elements of an accident case.
- The use of experts can be remarkably expensive with experts charging hundreds of dollars per hour for analysis. Due to expert’s high cost, experts are often only used in the most serious of commercial motor vehicle accidents.
- Large Amount of Evidence. To form a complete reconstruction of a commercial motor vehicle accident, an expert must review a considerable amount of material including driving logs, driving records, inspection reports and information uncovered through the use of electronic device recorders.
- Time Sensitivity. Evidence like photos, scattered vehicle parts, and other remnants of the accident can be destroyed shortly after the accident, which means that experts must hurry to ensure that as much evidence as possible concerning the accident is collected.
The Elements That Accident Reconstructions Demonstrate
When experts are allowed to testify in commercial motor vehicle accidents, experts can create accident reconstruction that can persuade courtrooms that accidents occurred in ways that are beneficial to the represented party. Accident reconstructions can be extremely complex and include a variety of features, which include the following:
- Crash Recorders. Information gleaned from crash recorders can demonstrate how commercial motor vehicles were traveling at the time the accident occurred.
- Eyewitness Testimony. Expert reports can use eyewitness testimony, if available, to support various numerical and physical information gathered from various sources.
- Experts can rely on photographs of an accident scene taken prior to the arrival of an insurance investigator to demonstrate how an accident occurred.
- Physical Inspection. Experts can rely on various parts taken from the automobile accident to establish how various mechanical failures or events might have contributed to the accident.
- Experts who understand physics and the effect that various weather elements can have on vehicles can use information about the weather conditions at the time the automobile accident occurred to describe the movement of various vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact our law firm. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.