What’s An Expert Witness?

What is a “slip and fall” expert witness? And what is their role in cases involving a “slip and fall injury?” These expert witnesses are often called upon in such cases to validate the claim for compensatory damages and bodily injury, so they are of great significance in winning these types of cases. They must have certain qualifications in order to help your case. This is what makes them “expert” witnesses. They generally are used for information regarding the case while the lawyers draw the conclusions based on how they answer pointed questions regarding the incidents.

Five Things An Expert Witness Does

In general, the “slip and fall expert witness” does five major things:

  1. Slip and fall experts first must have a knowledge of the environment or situation in which the fall occurred. For example, in the case of a maritime (ship) incident, the person should be reasonably familiar with the environment of the ship at sea, and know that ship decks are typically wet, due to the water spilling over from the ocean. This is a natural occurrence that can not be avoided. On the other hand, did the administrators of the ship take proper precautions and install non-slip surface fixtures to the deck to minimize the risk of falls? The important issue is “Did the staff do everything in their power to avoid accidents?” If so, there is no negligence. And you must prove negligence in most cases to collect and win the case.
  2. They must be unbiased in their opinion, and not have a vested interest in the case at hand. There needs to be a sense of impartiality when asking an expert witness to testify in “slip and fall” cases. If the person has some person interest in the case, the case will lose its credibility and objectivity.
  3. They must have some degree of expertise in the causation of falls and what logically can create a hazard that could result in a fall. For example, in our example of the ship deck, does the expert witness have the knowledge and foresight to validate their information regarding ship decks and what could cause a person to slip and fall in such a setting? If the proper procedures are in place on deck, and the person still fell, the burden of fault would fall on the victim for carelessness. Great care must be taken to find witnesses who not only understand the environment in which the fall occurred, but also what factor caused the fall in the first place. This is the cornerstone of the case in many instances: whether the person was careless, or the business was negligent.
  4. They must understand policies at the place in question and know when the institution or business was negligent in their duties sufficient as to have created the potential for a fall. If there are policies in place that correlate to the law and ethics,and the business did everything possible, the case becomes weaker. Does the expert witness understand what constitutes negligence and if, in fact, the business was negligent in this instance in which the person fell?
  5. They must be able to show that a reasonable person could have prevented the fall by taking specific steps to prevent the incident from occurring. This is the essence of “negligence,” by law. So it is important that the expert witness can show (from their experience or expertise) that negligence is involved. But remember, the witness does not have to prove this. That is the lawyers’ job. They just have to state, in an unbiased professional way what they know. The lawyer’s job is to take this information and make the court understand it constitutes negligence.

Keys To Success

The key to successfully utilizing expert slip and fall witnesses is to employ the above mentioned traits of an expert witness so that they dispel unbiased information to the court, and the lawyer can draw the conclusions on whether negligence has occurred. Expert witnesses are highly instrumental in winning cases when all of these factors are in place. If you need a consultation on a slip and fall case in or around the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, contact us.