CED Investigative Technologies Inc. engineers are involved on a routine basis performing accident investigations, reconstructions, testing and analysis. But what does an expert do after the inspections and reports have been completed, but before the case goes to trial? Trial preparation is as crucial to the expert as it is to the attorney if that expert’s testimony is to be taken seriously by the judge and jury. Some of the ways that an expert prepares for trial include:
1. The expert must commit to memory the legal elements of the case for which he or she will be testifying. The only way to understand and anticipate the questions which will be put to the expert during trial is to understand exactly what each side is trying to establish for the jury.
Understanding the legal terms associated with the case will also be important. If an expert is unfamiliar with legal phrases such as “standard of care” or “reasonable probability” it will undermine their testimony.
2. The expert must review all statements made during depositions for the case. Deposition statements must be consistent with testimony made during trial or attorneys representing the other side will use such contradictions as an opportunity to impeach all of what the expert offers as evidence.
3. The expert must review each opinion formulated for the case and be prepared to offer the foundation for that opinion. An opinion without adequate foundation leaves an opening for opposing counsel to impeach the expert’s testimony.
4. The expert must also review any and all expert testimony offered by the other side. Reviewing such information includes identifying which, if any, opinions are shared by experts from both sides. Care must be taken, however, since opposing counsel may attempt to create an appearance of agreement between experts which does not exist, especially if it helps their case.
5. Finally, an expert must review their own work product, especially the strengths and weaknesses. Opposing counsel is likely to focus their efforts on any perceived weaknesses or contradictory elements in the expert’s evidence and testimony. The strengths as well as the weaknesses must be readily explained if the expert’s testimony is to carry any weight with the judge and jury.
CED experts approach each and every case as if it will go to trial. Every step our experts take is in anticipation of explaining and defending each element to a judge and jury. Such an approach has resulted in a consistently loyal customer base as well as steady expansion of our staff and services for over 20 years.