Before considering how to work with a construction expert witness, you should first determine whether or not the services of an expert witness are called for, and whether they would help to make the case clearer to the judge and jury. In situations that involve a very complex or technical issue, the likelihood is that neither the judge nor most of the jury members will have a deep understanding of the various aspects of the case. This is exactly when an expert witness can be most helpful, especially if they have the ability to take a complex issue and explain it in simple and straightforward terms so that everyone can have some understanding of the core facts.
Another situation that may call for an expert construction witness is one where there is an issue involved which only an expert would be able to speak to, for instance, whether faulty construction methods were used on a project. There are many more issues just like this where a construction witness would be extremely helpful because of their knowledge and experience. When any of these issues come into play, it’s definitely worthwhile to bring in an expert witness who can shed light on an issue that might otherwise be complicated and confusing to the participants.
Why a Lawyer Should use a Construction Expert Witness
There are a couple of reasons why a lawyer should seek the help and support of an expert construction witness. The first of these is when the lawyer herself has little or no knowledge of the issues involved in a case that involves some aspect of construction work. Trying to argue a case such as this before a judge and jury will always expose a lack of knowledge, and that is an undesirable situation to place oneself in during litigation.
On the other hand, enlisting the aid of an expert construction witness can provide powerful support in bolstering up your case, and can help shed some light on otherwise complicated issues. It is also a smart idea to bring in an expert construction witness when outside circumstances rush the case, meaning you don’t have as much time as you would like to prepare, and you lack the expertise yourself to develop a strategy involving construction litigation on such an expedited timeline.
It is much more beneficial to pick the brain of an acknowledged expert and have that person be a strong advocate and representative for your legal position. This approach also has the added benefit of allowing the attorney more time to focus on other important aspects of the case, so nothing gets overlooked and the case can be pursued fully.
What to Look for in a Construction Expert Witness
In some situations, a lawyer will simply contact an agency for the purpose of connecting them with a competent expert construction witness, thereby saving time and simplifying the process. However, many lawyers also choose to make their own personal selections for witnesses, so they can maintain control of the entire litigation process.
When you’re seeking your own witnesses for litigation, there are some characteristics you should be on the lookout for so that you can make the right choice. First of all, you should work with someone who has very strong credentials, so that the judge will be satisfied with their expertise, and so opposing counsel will likewise have no objections.
Then, you must be sure that your expert witness has a solid working knowledge of the crucial factors and elements involved in your particular case. Lacking this kind of knowledge and understanding, a professional witness would be of little use to your case, and would not add value to the proceedings, or at least would not add sufficient value to justify their inclusion in the litigation.
Another thing you should be aware of when seeking the help of a professional construction witness is that it is ideal that you bring this person on board as soon as possible. This will give your expert witness time to review all the crucial elements of the case and to offer their expert opinion about each of these elements. In turn, that will give you more time to prepare your case and to strengthen your arguments before the judge and jury.
In the ideal situation, you might be able to find an expert who has had years or perhaps decades of experience and knowledge in the precise area which is being litigated. It would also be helpful if your expert construction witness has some kind of background in human factors, so they would have an understanding of why certain actions are undertaken, why deadlines are missed, why safety features are needed, or why neglect might have become a factor on any kind of construction project.
After it has been determined by an attorney and his/her client that an expert construction witness would be beneficial for the case, it will be necessary to go through the process of finding the right person to support your case. This will invariably call for a period of research where you seek out industry experts who may possess knowledge of the area in question in your particular case.
As mentioned above, you could also work with an agency that might connect you with a number of witness candidates, but if you take that approach, you would be relying on the agency to provide you with suitable candidates. When you’re pressed for time in finding expert construction witness, you may be obliged to go the agency route, simply as a means of saving time and hopefully finding the right person.
Regardless of how you select your candidates, you should devote a significant period of time to interviewing each candidate so you can be sure that the one you choose is in fact, an expert construction witness in the area being litigated. During this process, you will have to verify that not only is the candidate’s background is acceptable to you, and that it will satisfy both the judge and opposing counsel.
If you can find someone who is well respected within the industry and has a reputation of honesty, that will be even better for your case. Having an expert construction witness can be a powerful advocate for your case, and might just influence the judge and jury enough to help you achieve a favorable outcome.