If your case is going to trial, expert witnesses can really shore up your defense or add authority to your prosecution. But what if you don’t know the first thing about bringing in an outsider to help your claim? Here are just a few tips for hiring an expert witness.
1. Find A Specialist
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t bring a tax advisor to a personal injury case, but even when you’re searching for expert witnesses in the right industry, make sure you’re finding one with relevant experience to both your case and your side of courtroom proceedings. For example, don’t hire a defense witness if you’re looking for a litigation support specialist.
2. Talk About Pricing
Will they charge by the hour or by the day? What about dispositions, appeals and pre-trial interviews as well as their work on the stand? Will they expect a bonus if you receive a settlement, or do they want to be paid within a specific time frame? Make sure you’re completely clear on their pricing before signing on the dotted line.
3. Check Their Credentials
In addition to double-checking that they really attended Harvard or really obtained that specialized certification, you should also look into their background to make sure there isn’t anything opposing counsel can use to undermine their reputation. Debts, felonies and police charges can all hurt their authority on the stand.
4. Run Through Mock Testimony
This is the most important part of hiring an expert witness, yet many people do it while skipping this step entirely. Even if your witness looks good on paper, there’s no guarantee that they’ll rise to the occasion in front of a jury. Put them under a florescent light and make sure they can answer questions calmly and without confusing industry jargon. It’s the 12 people in the jury box you need to think about here.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you search for expert witnesses. Whatever you do, don’t rush your decision. Expert witnesses can make or break your case, so they should only be chosen with time and care.