This is the next article in my series on the handling of Atlanta, Georgia trucking accident cases. My last post explained the need for discovery after a truck wreck. Discovery is necessary in order to identify all of the potentially liable parties and to establish evidence of each party’s fault. This discovery process can be complicated and it is important that you retain a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling such matters. In this article I will discuss the need for expert witnesses in such cases. If you or a loved one have been injured then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
The rules of evidence require that the court consider a witness an “expert” before that person may offer opinions as to topics which require specialized skill or training. In the context of commercial vehicle accidents, experts will be needed in order to properly discuss issues related to both liability and a victim’s damages. I will discuss each of these issues in turn.
The liability of commercial defendants will, in part, depend on whether they were following the accepted standards of their industry. In the context of a trucking company, a corporate defendant may be liable if they had sub-standard procedures for hiring drivers, for training such drivers, and for monitoring the performance of their employees. An expert in the commercial trucking space will be able to analyze the defendant’s records and offer an opinion as to whether their procedures were up to par with others in the industry. A Plaintiff’s expert will issue a report on the subject and offer testimony at trial. The defense will have the opportunity to present their own expert reports and testimony. The jurors will decide which of the experts, if either, are credible.
Medical experts will also be required to testify in regards to a victim’s long-term prognosis. While treating physicians can testify as to the care they have provided, a specialist in a given field will be required in order to establish the victim’s chances of recovering, the extent to which the victim is expected to recover, the cost of expected future care, etc. A medical professional will reach these opinions after having examined the victim’s medical records and after having conducted an independent medical examination (IME) of the victim. Again, the defense will have the opportunity to present their own medical experts. The defense experts will likely claim that the victim is not as badly injured as he or she claims.
It is crucial that you select a personal injury lawyer who has substantial experience in dealing with expert witnesses. Such witnesses often opine on complicated topics and it is vital that your counsel be able to present an expert’s findings to jurors in a way which laypeople can understand. Experienced counsel can assist you in making sure that the matter is handled properly.
I was first admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1978 and I have been involved in many cases involving experts. Contact my office today to speak with an Atlanta truck accident attorney. We also service the Fulton County cities of Sandy Springs, Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton, and East Point, the DeKalb County cities of Dunwoody, Decatur, Brookhaven, Redan, and, the Cobb County cities of Marietta, Smyrna, Mableton, and Kennesaw, the Fayette County cities of Fayetteville and Peachtree, the Hall County city of Gainesville, as well as other areas throughout the state of Georgia.