This is the next post in my series of articles discussing car accident cases in Peoria, Illinois. In my previous post, I discussed the importance of discovery in auto wreck matters. As in all types of litigation, car accident cases are heavily dependent upon the objective evidence presented to the court to prove a defendant’s liability and establish one’s damages. Through the use of discovery tools, one’s attorney gathers evidence from the opposing party and others to be used for such purposes. An experienced personal injury lawyer will understand how to use the discovery process to build a successful case. In this post, I will focus on the need for expert witnesses in auto collision cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Expert witnesses can help establish the defendant’s liability in Peoria car crash cases
A party who suffers injuries as a result of a car accident caused by the negligence or misconduct of another is entitled to recover their damages from the responsible party. Victims must prove that the defendant is responsible for causing the accident. In some cases, the other driver’s liability can be easily proven. In other cases, complicating factors, disputes over the circumstances of the case, or the comparative fault of the plaintiff could require the support of expert testimony. In Illinois, a party may use expert witness testimony to demonstrate facts based on “specialized skill or knowledge.” For instance, if the parties disagree about the details of the crash, a person who specializes in accident reconstruction may provide their expert opinion as evidence in the case. This type of specialist may review items such as the police report, road conditions, weather conditions, vehicle wreckage, vehicle locations, and speeds at the time of the accident. Based on such information, the reconstructionist would issue a report with his opinion of the facts. It is important to note that the defense may also engage its own experts and submit their reports into evidence. The expert witness opinions may be used to support settlement negotiations and, if needed, can be introduced as evidence in a court proceeding. During a trial, the jury will ultimately decide which specialists’ opinions, if any, accurately depict the facts.
Peoria plaintiffs may require expert witnesses to establish damages after an Illinois car accident
When a car accident results in serious injuries, a victim’s damages can be extremely difficult to estimate. In this circumstance, several expert witnesses may be required to support the victim’s damage calculation. For instance, a victim suffering from spinal cord injuries may require extensive medical treatment and long-term care. Expert witnesses such as physicians, surgeons, or physical therapists may be required to provide an opinion about the victim’s medical prognosis and care that will be required over the life of the victim. A vocational expert may provide data on the victim’s ability to work following the accident. If the injured party had a lucrative career but suffered brain damage preventing him from returning to work, an economist may evaluate the loss of future earnings. In each case, expert testimony will be an important element in the damage calculation.
My office has experience representing victims and their families in serious injury cases and working with expert witnesses throughout the process. If you need assistance, contact our Peoria, Illinois office to speak with an attorney. I also serve clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.