Attorney at Law Magazine – Twin Cities Edition
Author: Steven M. Phillips
Your testifying experts are often the most important witnesses in the case. And, the experts you retain may often be the best source for understanding your opponent’s best case arguments.
Given this, the process of identifying and selecting experts has become increasingly significant. The testifying expert witness will be the person who explains how complex scientific or technical matters fit into your theory of the case, or how damages are calculated. A bad expert witness can lead to confusion or can turn the finder of fact against your case.
IDENTIFY YOUR EXPERT NEEDS
The logical first step on the road to retaining an expert is to determine the elements of proof and the technical or scientific aspects you need to demonstrate to prevail in the case. Will you need more than one expert? On what aspects of the case will you need expert testimony – in order to prove liability, support a defense, on damages? What are your case-specific deadlines for disclosing experts and their opinions? In most cases, identifying an expert or experts early on will aid in developing your case theories and allow you to focus discovery in areas that will provide the necessary factual background for the experts’ opinions.