Legal Discourse: an Overview of Expert Court Witnesses

law concept

A witness is generally a person present at the scene of the crime or accident. An expert witness, on the other hand, is a spectator whose knowledge goes beyond an ordinary person’s. Hence, his testimony concerning his field of study becomes a valuable decision point in court proceedings.

An excellent example of this is a testimony of a medical practitioner, such as a legal nurse, who can assist in medical malpractice or fraud cases. Often, clinicians base their statements in reverence to the Never Events list. This is a list of serious events defined by the National Quality Forum.

Expert witnesses are valuable to court cases as they can act as intermediaries. A plethora of eyewitness statements accompanied by the expert’s explanation of scientific principles gives the jurymen a better sense of reality. Facts are evaluated because the testimony is sourced from a person who is educated in a particular field. The jury is then able to make a sound and fair verdict because they can understand the nuances of the information provided.

Training courses and certification exams are required to become an expert on top of years in experience. Many certifying bodies offer these nowadays. Of recent popularity are online training programs and certifications that are readily available to professionals who are currently employed. If you are a lawyer wondering what types of expert witnesses are out there or if you are a professional looking for an excellent opportunity to advance your career, here is a list of some of the most popular fields of expertise:

HEALTH

By far the most popular and numerous professionals, they are the gurus often called to the witness stand. They specialize in crimes, medical malpractice, and accident cases. A doctor can immediately come to mind as a medical witness, but any other allied medical professional can be qualified.

CRIMINAL

Chemists, biologists, psychologists, and ballistic experts are classified under legal field experts. They are usually experienced in the field of law and crime. If you are a fan of the hit TV series CSI, then you got it.

FINANCIAL

These are the experts who put tax-evading bad guys behind bars.  They specialize in white-collar and financial crimes, fraud, and incidents where the accountant gets too smart but not smart enough.

PSYCHIATRIC

medical expert witnesses

Very similar to medical expert witnesses, mental health professionals are called to assess the rational fitness of a defendant. They are useful when establishing the state of mind of an individual when the crime was committed and whether or not they understood their actions. You have heard of murderers brought to trial and allowed to walk away unscathed. They were pronounced clinically or criminally insane by an expert.

OCCUPATIONAL

People who appeal for disability benefit are evaluated by a vocational expert witness to gauge if they are indeed incapable of working.

In the end, the mentioned experts are the most helpful in the courtroom. However, you should know that other professionals are becoming popular, such as those who specialize in cybersecurity and parenting.

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