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Definition of Expert Witness

An expert witness is the person who has the knowledge or competence to offer an opinion in court on a specific topic including information of a legal, scientific or medical nature. The expert witness may also perform other tasks for a litigator over the course of the case including testifying at the deposition and trial, evaluating cases and reviewing documents.

Generally, the first task of the expert witness is to review information about the details of the case. The expert witness may also be asked to evaluate the basic facts of the case, help the attorney understand complicated issues and outline an initial strategy. If the lawyer is reviewing a personal injury claim they may want the expert witness to examine medical information about the plaintiff to determine if the lawyer should take the case or not.

A common deliverable for an expert witness is an expert report which outlines their opinion about the case. Expert witnesses may also have to provide testimony under oath by for both attorneys. Finally, they will be asked to testify at trial, under oath, and will likely have to face cross-examination by opposing counsel.

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