An expert witness is a person who has extraordinary and specialized knowledge of his concerned subject as compared to the intellect of an average person. The testimony of this expert is highly valued in the court of law. The duty of an expert witness comes with great responsibility as his/her opinions play a decisive role in deciding the outcome of the case. For this, he/she needs to be unbiased in his/her research and opinions. He can testify either for the prosecution or for the defense parties. In many cases, both the parties use the services of an expert witness making the case complicated and sometimes also controversial. Do you want to become one? Read through the FAQs given below for a detailed information.
Where is an Expert Witness Required?
An expert witness is required to confirm the authenticity of an opinion or event, concerning law. This can be confirming severity of the injury of victim, cause of accident, and many other events. The expert has to carry out a thorough research for finding the truth and then he/she documents and presents the facts before the jury. His/her opinions and findings play a decisive role in judging the outcome of the case.
Who Can Become an Expert Witness?
Expert witnesses are generally experts in their field of work and many of them possess higher qualifications like a PhD degree. Though a doctorate is not a mandatory qualification required, experience and sound knowledge of their concerned field are factors that are important. The more education a person has, the more he/she will be trusted by the court. The qualifications of the person are generally verified by the concerned court authorities and so you should neatly document and present your skills. Many experts, to popularize and advertise their services, use websites through which they can also convey their availability to be a witness. There are schools that provide training to the potential candidates and help them obtain the important experience of the work. The work generally involves producing and preparing documents after studying the evidence cases.
What are the Required Skills?
Becoming an expert witness is quite a challenging task. Apart from holding the right qualification, he should also possess many other skills, some of them being communication and writing skills. He should have writing skills because it is his work to document all the evidence for the scrutiny of the court authorities. He also has to take care that the written format is well documented and easy to understand for the people involved.
How Much Can he Expect to be Paid?
Considering the challenge and responsibility involved with the job, expert witnesses are quite substantially paid. There are as such no perfect salary figures and the pay varies from one case to another. An expert who has experience of giving testimony to the court would demand a higher amount and would be well paid than the experts who have no court experience. The pay is quite similar to that of lawyers. In special cases, they can cut down on their fees, like in cases where the people involved with the case cannot pay the required fees. This entirely depends on the experts and the lawyers involved with the case.
To avoid controversy, an expert witness should be impartial and not let pressure affect them to modify the truth and authenticity of their opinion. This is because their findings have a very high say on deciding the fate of the case and deciding the judgment. If you are interested in becoming one, you should have a sound background knowledge of your area of work and the ability to justify your points.