The Use of Experts – Expert Evidence in Personal Injury Cases
Our personal injury lawyers in Ottawa retain experts every day and most typical personal injury cases usually require expert opinions.
One of a lawyer’s greatest assets when proceeding to trial is an experienced expert witness. Witness testimony is usually limited to what the person actually saw or experienced and there should be no evidence as to personal opinions. Expert witnesses however are permitted to submit opinions based on the facts presented to them. Experts have a duty to remain neutral and impartial. Their role is to assist the judge or jury with issues in the case. In many cases, the quality and persuasiveness of an expert witnesses opinion depends largely on their qualifications. Their ability to effectively communicate their opinions and be understood by a judge or jury is critical.
Before retaining the services of an expert, our lawyers research into their professional qualifications, credibility and ability to act as a trial witness. We always request a copy any potential expert witness’s CV. Producing CV is generally required to be produced if a party intends to call expert evidence. The expert’s CV will provide an introduction to their qualifications, expertise as well as expose any inconsistences, credibility issues or issues of bias for that expert. When reviewing an expert’s CV, our lawyers are critical; if something sounds too good to be true or not quite right, our lawyers discuss these issues with the expert. Any exaggerations or out of date information on an expert’s CV can harm their credibility with a judge or jury and make their evidence harmful to a case.
In Ontario, before an expert is able to give verbal testimony at a trial, they are required to complete a written expert’s report which must conform to the requirement of the Rules of Civil Procedure, including service on opposing counsel. Rule 53.03 details what an expert’s report needs to include as follows:
1. The name, address and area of expertise of the expert;
2. The qualifications, employment and educational experience in area of expertise;
3. The instructions given to the expert;
4. The nature of the opinion being sought and each issue in the proceeding to which the opinion relates;
5. The opinion of the expert on each issue, where there are several opinions, a summary of these opinions and the reason’s for the experts opinion with the range of opinions;
6. The expert’s reasons for his or her opinion including: the factual assumptions that support their opinion, any research conducted by the expert that formed their opinion, and a list of every document relied on by the expert in support of their opinion
7. An acknowledgment of expert’s duty signed by the expert.
The success of a personal injury case can be greatly improved by a properly chosen and prepared expert witness. Expert’s are costly so it is important to take the time to research and find the best expert for your case. Our lawyers take the time needed to retain the right expert for our client’s cases.
Hiring an expert is only one important point, among many, to consider when handling a personal injury case. Our lawyers provide free advice on consultation and work on a no fee until you win basis. If you have been injured in an accident call us at 613-315-4878 for a free consultation. QTMG Lawyers, Ottawa accident and injury lawyers.