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Types of Expert Witnesses

expert witness

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Drawing on the aid of an expert witness in a court of law can have invaluable input, notably due to their likely expertise in a field which may not be one that is of great public knowledge. Not only can expert witnesses sit on the stand and testify during a case, but they can also be called upon by your own attorney (your counsel) and used as co-counsel to advise during court proceedings.

Common types of expert witnesses include medical expert witnesses who are seen in crime trials and medical malpractice trials as well as forensic expert witnesses whose broad knowledge can be applied to any kind of science required in the field of law. Medical expert witnesses and forensic expert witnesses do often have some overlap. Other less common types of expert witnesses include vocational expert witnesses and account and securities expert witnesses. No matter which field they fall under, all expert witnesses tend to fall into two categories, consulting and testifying. Let’s discuss the different types of expert witnesses available:

Consulting Experts

Consulting experts are expert witnesses called upon by your own private counsel to help in the defense or knowledge of a case. They can give insight into various elements and ways in which the counsel can construct their argument. Another important element of a consulting expert is that their privacy is respected if they merely advise counsel. If, however, consulting experts are called upon to testify during court proceedings, their right to anonymity is wavered and they become testifying experts.

Testifying Experts

  • Special Knowledge Experts

    Also, known as an educating witness. The most common type of special knowledge expert would be a medical doctor who is often called into court to testify on his knowledge on the case in question or on his knowledge on elements that may affect the case. They relay to the court, either the judge or the jury, what the underlying scientific theory or logic behind certain instances is and any instrument implementing theory. These types of witnesses require specific training in their field such as years of experience and/or academic qualifications.

  • Damages Experts

    Also, known as a reporting witness. They are often called to the stand once the special knowledge (educating) expert witnesses have spoken to the court. Damages (or reporting) witnesses are often the individuals that have personal involvement in the case, whether they are the person who conducted specific tests or reached certain results, specifically in the case of forensic toxicology results. Damages experts will often be under scrutiny as the court attempts to ensure that proper procedures were followed and that the damages expert’s testimony is in some way aligned with that of the special knowledge (educating) expert witness who took the stand before them.

There has long been contention in the scientific community about scientific evidence and special knowledge witnesses taking the stand, due to the conflicting Frye standard and Daubert test in law.

 

The content of this article is provided by Connectica, LLC and has not been reviewed by a toxicology expert witness

 

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