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Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Claims

Expert witnesses play a key part in personal injury claims. Various types of witnesses can be involved, including doctors, engineers, scientists and more. 

If you are making a personal injury claim, it is important to understand the role of expert witnesses and how to best interact with them.

Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal injury claim solicitor for guidance on your specific circumstances.

What Are Personal Injury Expert Witnesses?

Personal injury expert witnesses are often doctors, accountants, engineers, etc. They examine evidence and provide their expert opinion on it. This specialist knowledge helps the court make important decisions about your case. Their input can also help both sides reach an agreed settlement.  

Big sums of money are at stake in personal injury claims.

So everyone needs to know exactly what caused the accident (liability) and what the losses are (quantum).

Questions like:

  • how fast was a car travelling when it crashed?
  • how often should an industrial machine be serviced?
  • what treatment is an injury going to need in 20 years’ time?
  • what impact does taking a lower paid job have on someone’s pension?

These are seriously complicated questions. And personal injury claims throw up questions like these all the time.

The last thing you want to do is to settle a personal injury claim without knowing the answers to these questions. Because the answers could add many thousands of pounds to your compensation. And if you settle your claim for less money than you should have, it’s almost impossible to reopen it later to ask for more money.

If you do a bad deal, you’re stuck with it.

So it’s vital to get everything right first time.

That’s where personal injury expert witnesses come in.

When a difficult question comes up in a case, a specialist in that field can be asked to examine the evidence and provide an expert opinion on it.

An expert’s opinion is persuasive in court. What they say about your case is important.

Here are examples of expert evidence in personal injury cases:

  • a medical professional (surgeon, doctor, physiotherapist, etc.) could write a report about how your injuries have reduced your mobility or strength
  • a specialist engineer could provide an expert opinion about a piece of defective equipment that caused your accident
  • a forensic accountant could calculate how your injury affected the performance of your business
  • an employment expert could investigate how your career prospects have changed since your injury  
If your case requires an expert witness, your solicitor will identify and appoint a suitable person.

If an expert wants to meet you, don’t be afraid to ask your solicitor about how to prepare. Just remember to give them complete and accurate answers to their questions, and you’ll be fine!

The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw

Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.