Expert witnesses are essential in many personal injury cases. When an issue or dispute is considered too complex for the ordinary juror to understand without the assistance of an expert, Illinois law requires that an expert witness be called to explain the complexities and provide opinions to the jury.
If the plaintiff doesn’t call an expert witness to testify regarding such issues, then the court generally won’t permit the plaintiff from placing such issues before the jury.
If the issue is essential to winning the case and plaintiff doesn’t call an expert, then the case will be lost.
Expert testimonies usually occurs in cases involving:
- Violation of standards
- Violations of safety rules
- Violations of custom and practice
- Permanent injury
- Issues pertaining of standard of care in medical or legal malpractice cases
The most common use of an expert in a personal injury case is probably the treating physician. He’s needed to place the issue of permanent disability and causation before the jury. For example, to prove that a plaintiff has a permanent back injury and that it was caused by the accident in question, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to call either a treating physician or a hired expert to testify that the injury is permanent and caused by the accident. Because the ordinary juror isn’t a physician, jurors generally aren’t permitted to evaluate such issues without the aid of an explanation from an expert witness. If the plaintiff’s attorney fails to call the expert to testify, the plaintiff will be unlikely to recover for any permanent injury, and the jury won’t be permitted to decide that issue. Hence, in most personal injury cases, a treating physician or hired expert must be called to testify.
The more complex the case, the more experts will generally be called. However, as with most rules, there are exceptions that have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. If you remember this basic rule, you will know if an expert is needed in a case: “Is the testimony beyond the understanding of the ordinary juror?” If the answer is yes, an expert is needed.
With a long history of record-setting verdicts, Horwitz Horwitz & Associates obtained what was the largest verdict in Illinois history for a personal injury claim. A free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers can help ease your fears and protect your rights. If appropriate we’ll arrange for an immediate investigation while evidence is fresh, including taking photos and statements from witnesses and the defendant.
Horwitz Horwitz & Associates invites you for a free telephone or in person consultation to discuss your accident and any questions you may have. You can also email us or even speak with us right now on LiveChat.
Even if you don’t wish to retain an attorney, we can set you on the right path for free. Most of our lawyers have more than 30 years of experience and we have an outstanding track record of helping our clients and creating a strong trust relationship, as you can see in our Success Records.
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