Many Oregon and Washington injury claims involve complex issues. In a serious auto collision case, there may be issues about driver behavior, and how a collision actually occurred. If a person suffers serious injuries, there may be issues about future prognosis, and the need for future medical care. In a defective product case, there may be questions about whether the product was properly designed or manufactured. Many times, these issues are resolved with the use of expert opinions.
Often times, an expert opinion is actually required to prove a certain element of a case. The most common example is proving the connection between a negligent event and a particular medical injury. This part of the case, often referred to as "causation.". Although many doctors may be technically qualified to render an opinion, some are more qualified than others. For example, in the complex orthopedic injury case, the orthopedic surgeon who actually performed the surgery is probably in a better position to discuss medical issues than a retired orthopedist hired by the insurance company weeks before trial, who, by the way, has not done a surgery in decades. This happens all the time.
In some cases, the insurance defense attorneys will 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.
Other examples of expert witnesses in Oregon injury claims include accident reconstructionists. An accident reconstructionist will look at the existing evidence from a collision scene, witness statements, and other information, and an attempt to re-create the events leading up to the collision. Sometimes, it could be an issue regarding a pedestrian versus auto collision, where the reaction time of the driver, and the walking speed of the pedestrian are key in determining who was at fault. Other times, the investigation concerns the location of the vehicles at a certain point in time prior to the actual collision.
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, call us at 503-325-8600 with your questions. We have worked with many different kind of experts over the years.