Sometimes, a Greenville car wreck attorney needs more than the information you presented them for winning your car accident claim. Maybe you were involved in a pile-up accident and it is not clear who is the at-fault driver (or drivers). Maybe you suffered extensive emotional trauma – the kind of injury that is not visible but has long-lasting negative effects on accident victims. In these cases, the lawyer may recommend hiring expert witnesses.
The term witness is a bit misleading. No, they did not witness your accident. But, through their unique specialization, know-how, and experience, they can provide reliable insights into your case. Expert witnesses are sometimes the last resort for a Greenville car wreck attorney. However, their statements usually represent the irrefutable evidence that helps you secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
What Does South Carolina Law Say about Expert Witnesses?
Expert witnesses are allowed to present qualified statements both in civil and criminal cases across the US. In our state, Rule 702 of the South Carolina Judicial Branch states that expert witnesses are allowed to testify, based on their scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge.
Thus, when your Greenville car wreck attorney adds an expert witness’ opinion to your car accident claim, an insurance adjuster cannot dismiss it as irrelevant. They may counter it with a different opinion expressed by an expert witness of their own. In the end, if there is too much disparity between these opinions, it is possible that your case may go to court.
Nonetheless, your lawyer will continue relying on expert witnesses, even finding others to support the original opinion.
What Exactly Makes an Expert Witness Qualified to Give a Relevant Opinion?
You may wonder: how can someone who knows nothing about your case help you win your car accident claim? Your Greenville car wreck attorney will tell you that there is a process for qualifying someone as an expert witness.
There are four main requirements for introducing such a witness into a personal injury lawsuit or using their opinion in claim negotiations:
- Their technical, scientific, or specialized knowledge will help determine a fact under dispute.
- The opinion is sufficiently based on facts and data.
- The opinion is the product of reliable principles and methods.
- The witness applied these principles and methods consistently in forming the opinion in your case.
Types of Expert Witnesses Your Lawyer May Hire
Winning a car accident claim is proportionally difficult to the amount you seek in compensation. Insurance companies may agree to settle a claim for a few thousands of dollars without fighting it too hard.
However, as any Greenville car wreck attorney knows, when the injured person’s economic and non-economic damages are in the range of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars – things are different.
The insurance company will try every tactic to reduce the value of the settlement amount. When nothing else can help you prove your case, your lawyer will resort to expert witnesses.
These are the types of witnesses most commonly hired in a car accident case.
1. Accident Reconstruction Experts
Accident reconstruction experts will look at all the photos and videos of the crash and read the police report. Then, using special computer software, they recreate the accident. This video rendering is usually the most effective way of demonstrating a driver’s negligence and determining the percentage of fault for all the parties involved in the crash.
Using this type of expert witness is mostly needed in cases when the accident happened at night or when no eyewitnesses were present.
2. Medical Experts
Insurance adjusters will always try to downplay the severity of your injuries. Worse, they try to downplay an injured person’s permanent disability as a result of the accident. Medical experts can attest to the type of long-term care a person with those specific injuries may need, what type of medication and therapies they require, and how their independent life will be affected by the injury.
With this type of expert opinion, a Greenville car wreck attorney will be able to justify the economic damages by representing:
- costs with nursing care
- costs with assistive devices
- costs with ongoing physical therapy.
3. Economic Experts
People who suffer life-changing injuries will be away from work for a very long time. Sometimes, they may not be able to resume their job but find a less demanding and less paid one. Also, some accident victims are never able to perform any kind of work.
In this case, it is crucial to calculate and justify the amounts representing lost wages and loss of earning capacity. There are complex calculations involved, and only an economic expert can perform them with confidence and accuracy.
Also, these calculations cannot be dismissed as speculation by an insurance adjuster, if they bear the name and signature of a certified professional in the field of economics.
4. Mental Health Experts
Mental anguish and emotional trauma are very real and they affect people who were involved car accidents. Some of them have recurring nightmares. Others are left with a fear of getting into a vehicle. For others, loud noises are triggers for remembering the traumatic event.
But insurance adjusters will try to say that you are exaggerating. This is incredibly frustrating and heartless, but how do you demonstrate this type of invisible suffering? The answer is: with the help of a mental health expert witness.
They are certified psychologists or psychiatrists with extensive experience in treating patients who experienced the same type of trauma as you did as a result of a traffic accident.
5. Highway Safety Experts
Sometimes, a car accident was caused by a poorly maintained road – and the at-fault party is the local authority in charge of maintaining it. You can be sure that they will build a strong defense and try to dismiss your car accident claim, blaming it on distracted driving, lack of experience behind the wheel or anything else.
Fortunately, with the help of a highway safety expert, you can prove that even an extremely careful and experienced driver could not have avoided a crash in those conditions.
Call a Greenville Car Wreck Attorney Today
Whether we have to rely on expert witnesses or look for key details in accident photos and videos, we will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
You should schedule a free case review with a Greenville car wreck attorney as soon as possible after your crash. Evidence may disappear as time passes and it will be harder to put together a strong case. Call us now at 864-310-7897 and let us help you!