What is an Expert?
Its probably obvious, the if you look at the evidence code, an expert in an Oregon personal injury case is someone with "specialized" knowledge that can help the jury figure out the issues in the case. Proving an injury claim in Oregon almost always requires a medical expert, but if fault or liability is an issue, other experts may have to provide their specialized knowledge to make the case.
Examples of Expert Witnesses
In a serious auto collision case, there may be issues about driver behavior, and how a collision actually occurred. Accident reconstructionists investigate the facts of a collision to "re-create" the events leading up to the collision. The best expert opinion is one based on the most accurate facts, but reasonable assumptions sometimes must be made. When a collision occurs in an intersection, and there may be a dispute about who saw what first, and how fast someone was going, an accident reconstructionist will help sort those issues out for a jury.
Medical experts are the most common in an Oregon injury trial. Medical experts explain the relationship between the collision and the injuries, what kind of injuries occurred, the cost of care, and whether future care is an issue. Medical experts also provide opinions about whether an injury will cause permanent impairment. In serious injury cases that require life time medical care, medical experts may work with life care planners to outline the cost of life time medical care.
Toxicologists or Pathologists provide opinions about whether someone was impaired at the time of the collision by looking at blood alcohol testing results and other evidence.
In some auto injury cases, the insurance defense attorneys call a biomechanical engineer to testify on the issue of whether a certain type of auto collision can cause an injury in the first place. Many times, Judges have excluded this "expert' testimony because the science underlying the opinion is just not reliable enough for a jury to consider. However, biomechanical engineers can testify in other areas where the foundation of good scientific study allows an opinion based on accepted scientific data.
Many times, experts are called upon very early in the case to render an opinion. This is especially true with a products liability claim, where the condition of the product requires immediate inspection, or in an industrial accident claim, where the condition of the work place at the time of the injury is required to form an opinion about what happened.
If you have a case where you think an expert opinion may be needed, contact us. We have worked with many different kind of experts over the years.