Expert witnesses can be extremely helpful for your case, but before you sit someone down in front of a jury, you’ll need to make sure that they’re the right person for the job. While a good witness can be a godsend, a bad witness can turn into your worst nightmare. Here are just a few ways to ensure that you get the former.
- Determine Their Expertise
Where did they go to school? How much experience do they have in the field? What professional titles can they bring to the stand? Keep in mind that this isn’t the time to prove that degrees aren’t important or that people can be successful without an abbreviation after their name. In front of a jury, you want your expert to be impressively authoritative.
- Perform Multiple Background Checks
This is especially important if your witness will be testifying about sensitive matters like finance or medicine. A malpractice lawsuit can completely undermine your doctor, and a tax scandal can make your financial expert witness seem like a joke. Neither of these impressions will help your case in front of a jury, so do your research before putting someone under oath. Perform multiple background checks in multiple databases, and grill your witness about their past if you uncover anything suspicious.
- Ask About Rates
Some witnesses expect to be compensated by the hour. Others are willing to negotiate a flat fee per day or per case. Make sure that you’ve hammered out all of these details before your witness hits the stand; you don’t want money matters to cause conflicts in what should be a smooth back-and-forth between the two of you. Any kind of dispute can affect their performance when it matters most.
These are just a few things to consider if you think that you might need the help of an expert witness to win your case. The right person for the job is out there; you just have to be willing to find them, hire them and prepare them for the stand. Good luck!