Have you sustained a personal injury in North Carolina and have personal injury trial questions? Read this article, then call our lawyer now.
1. What is the role of an expert witness in my personal injury case?
Recently one of my clients that we’re representing in a serious catastrophic injury case, a bad case, came to my office and wanted to ask some questions. They had sent me an email and said, “Hey, I’ve got some questions about expert witnesses.” I made the decision to, rather than explain it to them over email, make an appointment and meet with them in person to answer their questions because expert witnesses can be very important.
An expert witness is someone that the law deems trustworthy enough to give opinions. We have two kinds of witnesses. We have witnesses that are lay witnesses: people in the law that a judge will allow to testify about what they witnessed firsthand and maybe what they heard. Lawyers call them fact witnesses. They are witnesses that can testify about the facts, but they’re not allowed to give opinions about the facts unless they can demonstrate to the judge that they have qualifications and they’ve done homework that makes their opinions reliable enough so the jury can decided whether they’re believable or not.
Typically, the most obvious expert witness is the doctor that’s treating you. A doctor that’s treating you can be a fact witness because they know when you came to see them and what they observed. A doctor that’s treating you can give opinions based on their medical training, going to medical school, their experience in practicing, and the fact that they have treated you as a patient and may have done some research about your particular medical condition. A judge will listen to their qualifications, and then make a ruling that, yes, we’re going to allow this doctor to give opinions about the case in addition to giving facts about the case.
There are other types of expert witnesses. You have expert witnesses that reconstruct collisions, how something happened on the open highway. They are engineers. Those engineers have to demonstrate qualifications that show that their opinions would be reliable to go before a jury. You can have expert witnesses that are vocational counselors, and those expert witnesses can show that they have the qualifications to develop opinions about how your injuries will impact your ability to return to work. You can have an expert witness that hasn’t really gone to school, but they have so much experience that the court deems them reliable enough to give opinions. This could be someone who spent all their life training horses, or it could be someone who has received training and experience with cars and doing mechanical work but never went to any type of two- or three-year training to do mechanical work; they just have sufficient experience with certain types of mechanical problems that enable them, in the judge’s opinion, to give certain opinion evidence about certain mechanical issues.
Expert witnesses can come in many shapes and forms, but the main thing to remember is an expert witness is able to give an opinion; they are not simply limited to give facts. If you’ve got questions about an expert witness in your case and you want to talk to our law firm about that, feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to talk with you about your case and how experts can impact your case.
2. Can I avoid trial for my personal injury case?
Recently someone called me up from North Carolina about their personal injury case. They’d been seriously hurt and been through a lot, and they didn’t want to have to go through a jury trial. On the other hand, they didn’t want to just cave in and give away things that they shouldn’t have to give away because they were hurt by somebody who was reckless. This is what I told them.
We understand that you’re torn, but in order to make certain that you don’t basically give your case away, you’re going to have to do some work, even though we’re going to plan to try to settle your case, if at all possible, for a settlement that makes it all worthwhile. The way we do that is we plan for the worst, and then we hope for the best. We do that knowing that if we can get you a reasonable settlement that you would be happy with, we are going to take it. We don’t let the other side— the insurance company or the corporation that hurt you— see us sweat, however. We prepare the case for trial, and we let them know that they’re not going to be able to ambush you at trial.
Once we see that they realize that they know they can’t ambush you, we can try to settle your case, but we have to set it up. We can’t just give away our power and say we’re willing to settle this case because we just don’t want to go through anymore. We know and our office understands that you don’t want to go through anymore. What we have to do, however, is keep that amongst ourselves. We have to set things up so that they understand they can’t ambush us, so that you can get a settlement that you can live with and not have to just settle at any cost. If you settle at any cost, you could regret it for the rest of your life, because you only have once chance.
Call our office. We’ll try to work with you and try to reconcile all the different things that you’re feeling, so that we can work through this process and get a good result. Call us. We’re here for you, and we’ll try to reconcile everything that you’re feeling.
3. Will my personal injury case go to trial?
Recently, someone called me from North Carolina and wanted to know if their personal injury case was going to have to go to trial. This question is a complicated question, but I’m going to make it simple.
When you have a case and it involves a serious injury, you need to prepare your case to go to trial. Some of the best ways, maybe the best way, to not have to go to trial is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The way you do that with a personal injury is you choose an attorney that knows how to prepare your case for trial and is willing to do the hard work to prepare your case for trial because that’s preparing for the worst.
If you are prepared to go to trial, the insurance company, the corporation that you’re having to sue, they see that you’re willing to go to trial, you’re going to be prepared, and they’re not going to be able to ambush you because you have an attorney and you yourself are committed to being prepared. When they see that, they start thinking, “Hmm, maybe we don’t really want to risk going to trial in this case. They seem very prepared. They seem confident, but they’re not overconfident, and they’re willing to work. Maybe we don’t want to try this case. Maybe we need to settle this case and go to the next case, where that person doesn’t seem as prepared to go to trial, and maybe we can save money on that case and forget about risking losing a lot of money on this case.”
That’s how a trial works in a personal injury case. You prepare for the worst by preparing for trial, and then, if you’re prepared for the worst, maybe the best will happen. The best would be a really, really good settlement that doesn’t require you to have to go to trial. Call our office. That’s the way we approach cases, and we believe it’s the best way to approach cases. We want to help you, with our experience, so that you can get a great result in your case.
Were you or a loved one severely injured by a negligent person in North Carolina and have personal injury trial questions? Contact experienced Richmond County, NC personal injury lawyer H. Bright Lindler today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
My office takes care of everything, so you can rest and focus your attention on your recovery.
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