To increase the credibility of your case, you may need to use expert witness testimony. Making this decision is the easy part. The not so easy task of selecting one who is a suitable match is where you may have some challenges.
Many instances do not encourage clear-cut, right or wrong answers. Instead, the choice in having a valid person is based on carefully considering your options. Here are five ways you can hire the one who most closely aligns with your case and avoid getting his or her testimony thrown out.
- Choose a qualified expert.
The expert that you choose should be well qualified. Ideally, you want someone whose opinions in previous cases have been upheld. After all, the point of using an expert opinion is to strengthen the validity of your case. Hiring someone who is familiar with court proceedings is an added bonus.
- Keep your witness within his or her boundaries of expertise. Remember that you have chosen the expert based on the specific knowledge she brings to your case that cannot be found elsewhere. Therefore, you should not ask for testimony that touches the margins of this knowledge. Going outside her area of true expertise could be disastrous for your case. One unanswered question from the opposing side could destroy your expert’s credibility.
- Have a realistic budget for the type of expert you need. Often, the value that your expert witness brings to the case is indispensable. An unrealistically low budget is a gamble you may not want to make with your case. If cost is an issue, find other ways to save on expenses. Pay the price for a valuable expert or pay the price with a losing case.
- Make sure your expert provides solid answers. Ask all the hard questions before your expert takes the stand. Grill and push him to give a clear explanation on why he is qualified to give an opinion on the issue.
- Prepare your witness for challenges to qualifications and methodology of conclusions. The goal of the other side is to win, even if it is at the expense of disqualifying your witness. Make sure your expert witness is well prepared to defend his positions. It should be unquestionably clear that a testimony that is thrown out becomes a negative reflection on the expert’s career.
It goes without saying that disqualification of your expert witness can mean an unfavorable ruling that ends your case. Follow these tips to avoid this type of result.