You’ve seen it a million times on TV and film courtroom dramas- an attorney calls a witness to the stand to provide expert testimony, and what they have to say leaves the audience in an uproar as the judge pounds his gavel.
Sure, it’s all very dramatic, and can certainly help answer a couple of key questions to resolve a TV show’s plot, but do expert witnesses have any place in a real-life court case?
The answer is most certainly! Every day in courtrooms across the country, experts in a multitude of fields are called upon by legal counsel to share their knowledge and experience to help prove the guilt or innocence of a defendant. Expert witnesses can help provide the background information to determine a number of key points, from the order in which a series of events happened to whether certain evidence points to a crime taking place.
While people tend to think of doctors, professors, or forensic experts when they think of expert witnesses, the truth is that just about anyone with knowledge, skill, education, or training in a specific background can qualify to provide expert testimony, given the nature of the court case.
And it’s not just for high-profile, high-drama trials, either. While we associate expert witness testimony with murder cases, thanks to Hollywood, in real life there are a number of cases involving accounting, insurance, or IT-related issues that can always use testimony from an expert witness. For example, an Internet Technology Patents Expert Witness – such as Peter Kent – is someone who is an expert in the field of Internet technology in general. This type of individual can help provide testimony for litigation involving an internet technology and whether it infringes on a patent. For example, pintrest might feel that “pinning” an image that you like infringes on their patent. An expert witness in this field can be instrumental in helping a jury better understand whether any violation has taken place.
One of the key differentiators between an expert witness and a non-expert witness is that an expert witness is required to base their testimony on sufficient facts that are generally relied upon by other experts in their field. While non-expert witnesses are only allowed to testify about what they saw or heard during the course of a specific incident, an expert witness can share the broader knowledge and experience associated with the particular field or industry that the court case involves.
Becoming an expert witness can not only allow you to help others in need of your specific knowledge and experience but can also be a lucrative side venture. Not every type of courtroom litigation involves sitting on a witness stand- some expert witnesses need only provide their testimony in a written report. By becoming an expert witness, you can be an integral part of the judicial system simply by sharing your specialized knowledge with those who need to hear it most!