Every day, thousands of motorists share California’s roads with massive commercial trucks, whether they’re picking up goods from the Port of Los Angeles or hauling them through Central California’s busy I-5 corridor. Trucking regulations help make most of these journeys uneventful, but accidents still happen with devastating consequences, including wrongful deaths.
In these tragic cases, survivors and affected families can turn to California’s personal injury laws to seek justice and compensation for all that they’ve lost. A good truck accident lawyer can help you put together the strongest possible case – and that might involve expert witnesses.
Expert witnesses play an essential role in truck accident and wrongful death lawsuits, specifically focusing on accident reconstruction and trucking safety. A good expert can help you prove that the truck driver or trucking company acted negligently in a way that caused your injuries, which is crucial to winning your case.
What Is the Purpose of Expert Witnesses in Truck Accident Cases?
Trucking accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities because of the massive size and weight of commercial trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers. When these types of accidents happen, the aftermath can be complicated and confusing. In these cases, expert witnesses often play a pivotal role in establishing the circumstances of the accident.
Expert witnesses have specialized knowledge and experience in a particular field that’s relevant to your case. Their testimony serves to provide the court with a deeper understanding of complex issues, helping judges and juries make informed decisions. Expert witnesses often have advanced degrees or years of experience in their fields.
In truck accident cases, expert witnesses may include:
- Accident reconstructionists who are trained in accident scene analysis, scientific principles, and engineering knowledge who can piece together what happened and recreate the events leading up to your accident
- Medical professionals who can elaborate on the injuries sustained in the accident
- Automotive engineers to analyze whether the vehicles in the crash had any defects or malfunctions, which could uncover negligence through deferred maintenance
- Trucking safety experts who can determine whether the trucking company’s operations were within federal and California state safety regulations
These experts contribute their knowledge to various aspects of a case, such as:
- Determining the Cause – Whether the accident was caused by driver error, equipment failure, road conditions, or other factors such as hours of service violations
- Providing a Timeline – Creating a reliable narrative of the accident by analyzing any physical evidence, skid marks, road conditions, and other factors
- Regulatory Compliance – If the trucking company or its driver were not complying with all relevant laws and regulations, that could establish legal responsibility
- Driver Qualifications – Examining the qualifications and training of the truck driver, whether they were adequately trained or had a history of safety violations
- Maintenance and Inspection – Evaluating the maintenance and inspection records of the truck involved to see whether the company was negligent in its upkeep
- Driver Fatigue and Hours of Service Violations – Analyzing driver logs and schedules for driver fatigue, an issue of particular concern in the trucking industry
The right expert can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case. But how do you know which experts you need and where to find the best ones? That’s where a good lawyer comes in. An experienced truck accident attorney will have worked with expert witnesses before. They will have the resources and contacts to find an expert who can speak to your case.
Who Can Testify as an Expert Witness for a Truck Accident?
Not just anyone can testify as an expert witness in a truck accident case. California courts typically require experts to meet specific qualifications, including:
- Education and Experience – Experts must have relevant education and experience in their respective fields so that their opinions are based on sound knowledge.
- Impartiality – Expert witnesses must be impartial and not biased towards either party in the case, as their role is to provide unbiased analysis and testimony.
Not all opinions are created equal when it comes to testifying in a personal injury case. Some cases may even have a battle between expert witnesses that comes down to which expert’s credentials and testimony are more believable for the judge or jury. That’s why you want to pick an expert whose opinion carries a significant amount of knowledge and experience.
Should You Get an Expert Witness for Your Case?
The best person to talk to about getting an expert witness for your case is your lawyer. Your attorney should be able to determine which types of experts would be most beneficial for your case. They should also be able to recommend expert witnesses to support your case.
By enlisting the help of an expert witness, you could have a better chance:
- Clarifying Complex Issues for the Court – Truck accidents often involve complex technical and legal aspects, from mechanical engineering to regulatory compliance.
- Establishing Liability – When the parties disagree as to what caused the accident, expert witnesses can help establish liability by providing professional opinions on what they believe led to the accident, putting legal responsibility where it belongs.
- Maximizing Your Compensation – Medical professionals can testify to the extent of your injuries and the treatment you will need both in the present and for the long term, helping make sure all your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering are covered.
- Negotiating a Better Settlement – Even before going to trial, the presence of an expert witness can strengthen your negotiating position. Insurance companies are more likely to offer a fair settlement when they see you have credible experts supporting your claim.
The decision to hire an expert witness can be critical to the success of your truck accident case. Expert witnesses like accident reconstructionists and trucking safety consultants play a crucial role in trucking accident claims and wrongful death lawsuits.
If you or your family member has been involved in a truck accident, the experienced legal team at Sepulveda Sanchez Law can help. Contact us now to get started on your case. We work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t have to worry about paying for expert witness fees up front.