Thursday, January 16, 2014

Can you be an expert witness?

To qualify as an expert witness in a given case, you need knowledge, skill, experience, training or education in a relevant field. An expert is commissioned by a party in a case to render his or her opinion. The opposing party will try to discredit you; your side will bolster your credentials.

The more knowledge, skill, experience, training or education you have in a field, the more likely you will qualify as an expert. If you qualified as an expert in prior cases, that helps you qualify in a later case. Qualifying as an expert in one case does not mean you are automatically an expert in another case.

Once you qualify as an expert, any testimony you provide must be based on sufficient facts or data, it must be the product of reliable principles and methods, and your opinion must result from the application of those principles and methods to the present case.

You should be familiar with the legal process, but there are not many obstacles before you can market yourself as an expert. You need to make a website, register for expert witness directories, and it is always prudent to form a business entity to protect yourself. If you are going to invest capital and/or have employees working for you, you will want to do more. Many experts neither invest much capital nor have employees.

If you have an advanced degree, or years of experience in a given field, you can probably be an expert.

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