Product liability cases are often highly technical. A claim alleging a defective product can come down to one specific piece of an incredibly sophisticated machine or the way one component worked or failed to work in a single incident.
Because of these complexities, plaintiffs and defendants call expert witnesses to help judges and juries understand the information and claims parties are making.
Types of Experts
Per California statutes, an expert is someone who has special training, skill or knowledge on a specific subject. In exchange for their testimony, these witnesses receive reasonable compensation equal to their hourly or daily rates.
These experts can come from a wide range of professions. In the context of a product liability claim, experts called to testify could include:
- Medical professionals
- Manufacturing experts
- Industry-specific experts
The information provided by these individuals can be quite valuable. And they could make an enormous impact on how parties view liability and defects.
Utilizing Experts Wisely
Finding and questioning expert witnesses requires legal acumen. Like any other type of witness, experts may have biases, credibility issues, and unique insights that influence how much weight their testimony carries.
For instance, defense strategies can include calling out flaws in an expert's experience or opinion or challenging the individual's character. And using witnesses that support your argument can bolster your claim, particularly if they can offer alternatives to the claims plaintiffs make against the defense.
One Piece of a Larger Puzzle
Witness testimony is indeed a crucial aspect of product liability claims and defenses, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. If your business faces accusations of designing, making, or selling a defective product, there are many facets to consider when mounting a defense.
Disputing liability, introducing evidence of misuse or identifying other negligent parties can all be ways of defending against product liability claims.
The exact approach you take if someone is suing you for a defective product will depend on the precise details of your case.
A business facing allegations of being responsible for damages caused by a dangerous product would be wise to consider all strategies to help their case - including leveraging testimony from the experts that can help you build the strongest case and working with attorneys who have established relationships with these professionals.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.