This is the next post in my series on the handling of brain injury cases in Peoria, Illinois. My previous article discussed why it can take a long time to settle a brain injury case. It is important to remember that the recoverable damages in these types of matters often take substantial time to ascertain. This is due to the fact that it is very difficult to determine the severity of a brain injury and quantify the correct amount of damages that should be owed to a victim. Moreover, head trauma may be something that a victim cannot fully recover from and may lead to long-term complications. As a result, such cases can take long periods of time to be resolved. In this article I will discuss the importance of expert witnesses in such matters. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria brain injury lawyer.
The Illinois Rules of Evidence allows qualified expert witnesses to testify in order to help the jury better understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. An expert is considered qualified if they have knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education in a specific field. Expert witnesses are incredibly valuable in brain injury cases. When such a matter is before the jury, there are several questions that arise which may require an expert’s opinion. In such cases, it is important to determine the extent of the injury in order to determine damages. As a result, medical experts will be useful because they can analyze the treating physician’s findings and provide their prognosis on the extent of the injuries. Medical experts will also provide their opinion on how long they expect it will take the victim to recover, as well as whether they expect the victim to recover at all or if the recovery will be limited.
Vocational experts and economists are also often retained to offer reports and testify during trial. Such experts will be able to discuss the amount of economic harm a plaintiff has sustained. This economic harm will include lost wages and other income through the end of the trial as well as future lost income. The expert will determine the amount of money that the plaintiff could have been expected to earn had the injury not occurred. They will consider factors such as age, education, prior work experience, earnings history, and more. If the Plaintiff is capable of returning to work in any capacity, then the ability to earn money and the cost of any re-training will be considered.
Further, a neurological expert may also be required to testify as to how head trauma can impact one’s memory. This testimony can also be provided by the medical expert even if they are not specifically a neurological expert. This is important because such an injury may prevent a victim from fully remembering how the accident occurred. If the plaintiff cannot recount the facts of the accident to the jury, the jury may find that the story is not credible. This testimony is useful in explaining that the victim’s injuries may be causing memory loss which would explain the reason for the gaps in testimony.
It should be noted that damages in brain injury cases are often disagreed upon. Damages will be calculated based on expenses owed to date including pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. They will also be calculated based on future damages, such as future lost wages, future medical bills, and ongoing rehabilitation. Future damages are much more difficult to determine, so experts will be involved in estimating the future amounts. Each party will have their respective experts assist with the calculations. The plaintiff’s side will testify that the injuries are extreme and as a result, the plaintiff is entitled to a large sum of money. The defendant’s side will attempt to rebut the plaintiff’s claims and argue that the plaintiff is entitled to a reduced amount. The jury will hear both sides, deliberate, and ultimately decide on liability and the overall amount of damages to be awarded.
Expert witness testimony is often complex and complicated for the jury to understand. It is the lawyer’s job to simplify the testimony into terms the jury will be able to understand so they can reach a proper verdict. As a result, brain injury cases should not be handled on your own. If you or a loved one are suffering from head trauma then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria brain injury lawyer. I understand that this is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. My office will give your case the attention it deserves. We pride ourselves on providing quality service. This includes timely responses to phone calls, emails, and making ourselves available to answer your questions. Contact us online or by telephone today for assistance. My office also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.