This is the next article in our series on the handling of car accident cases in Atlanta, Georgia. Our last post discussed the need for discovery in a car wreck case. It is important to understand that the discovery process can be used to obtain evidence which relates to comparative fault and liability in general. It is important that you retain a lawyer experienced in obtaining such evidence. In this article we will discuss another important topic – the role of experts in cases which stem from car accidents. If you require assistance then contact our office today to speak with an Atlanta personal injury attorney.
Expert witnesses are often required in personal injury cases which involve serious injury. This is due to the fact that the rules of evidence do not allow a layperson to testify in regards to information that is based on specific experience, specialized skill, or particular training. Issues to which such experts may testify include a defendant’s liability, a victim’s future medical need, and economic damages. We will discuss each of these issues in turn.
There are many instances in which it may not be clear as to which party was at fault for an accident. In such situations it may be necessary for the Plaintiff to retain an “accident reconstructionist.” Such professionals will view the scene of the incident, measure skid marks, inspect the wrecked vehicles, analyze police reports, and will examine any other evidence related to the crash. The reconstructionist will then generate a report stating who they believe was at fault based on the physical evidence available. The defense will have the opportunity to retain their own reconstructionist in order to rebut any claims made by the Plaintiff’s experts. It is up to the jury to decide which of the professionals, if either, should be believed.
Medical experts will also need to be retained in order to testify to the victim’s future prognosis and medical needs. While the treating physicians will testify as to the care and treatment that has already been administered, the need for future care is considered speculative. This need for speculation is why the Court will require the testimony of medical experts. After examining the victim, analyzing their treatment records, etc., such a professional will issue a report which predicts a long-term prognosis and which also details the extent to which the victim will require future care. The report will also predict the estimated costs of such care. These costs will include the money needed for surgeries, rehabilitation, medicine, etc. The defense, again, will be given an opportunity to retain their own professionals to offer a countervailing opinion.
Another type of professional to be retained will be an economist who can estimate the extent to which the victim’s future earning potential has been harmed by their injuries. In matters involving a serious injury the victim may not be able to return to work for some time, if at all. It may also be possible that the victim can only return to the workforce in a limited capacity. In such situations an economist will offer opinions as to the amount of money a victim could have expected to earn, but for the accident, and the amount that one can expect to earn after the accident. As with the other types of experts described above, the jurors will determine the credibility of any expert testimony relating to financial calculations.
If you have been injured in a car accident then it is important that you retain a lawyer experienced in handling such matters. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys will retain any experts they deem necessary to the handling of your case. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service the greater metro area, including Macon, Savannah, Athens, Kennesaw, Marietta, Decatur, Dunwoody, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross, Gainesville, as well as the counties of Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Richmond.