There’s no doubt that eyewitness accounts can be invaluable in any personal injury claim. After all, a witness can corroborate what happened to you, and who caused the crash!

However, eyewitness accounts can, like all evidence, be challenged. They’re not always enough to prove a civil compensation claim – even if they’re compelling. And that’s where expert witnesses can be helpful.

Below, our attorneys explore the role of expert witnesses in car accident cases. We explain what to do if you’re in a car crash in CA, or if you’re a car accident witness.

What Is a Car Accident Expert Witness?

A car accident expert witness did not witness the crash. However, they have knowledge that helps to prove why the crash occurred. They can help with:

  • Interpreting evidence
  • Analyzing crash scenes
  • Reviewing safety data
  • Explaining technical rules

Both sides of a car crash claim can use expert witnesses to support their version of events. They’re often used in court scenarios to help explain technical matters to jurors. However, they may be hired at any stage of an accident claim, depending on how complex it is.

Who Can Be an Expert Witness?

Under California law, expert witnesses must have “special” knowledge or skill in their field. What qualifies as special knowledge can include:

  • Education
  • Reputation
  • Experience
  • Credentials
  • Published works
Car accident expert witness inspecting front of damaged vehicle

Types of Expert Witnesses in Auto Crash Claims

Just as there are many types of doctors, attorneys, and other professionals, there are different types of expert witnesses. The most common expert witnesses in car crashes are as follows:

Accident Reconstruction Experts

Accident reconstruction experts study accident scenes to determine how the traffic accident unfolded. This means working “back in time” to establish a timeline, or chain of events. They’ll use evidence such as:

  • Property damage
  • Skid marks
  • Hazards
  • Measurements
  • Photographs and videos

Such evidence builds a picture of the accident scene.

Engineering Experts

An engineering expert has specialist mechanical knowledge. They can comment on:

They’re especially helpful if there’s a chance that a car defect caused the crash.

Medical Experts

Medical experts are usually doctors. They can comment on:

  • Extent of injuries
  • Likelihood of recovery
  • Timeframe for recovery

They can also testify to the cause of death in wrongful death claims.

Why Would I Need a Car Accident Expert Witness?

There are a few reasons why you might need – or could benefit from – a car crash expert witness. You may require an expert witness if:

  • The injuries are complex and potentially lifelong
  • There are multiple vehicles involved
  • Parties cannot agree on liability
  • There is potentially a defective product to blame (with possible punitive damages)
  • Defective roads could be to blame

Your attorney can explain if a car accident expert witness will help in your case.

How Much Do Car Accident Expert Witnesses Cost?

It all depends on the complexity of the case and the scope of the work required.

However, just remember that you are not responsible for paying this cost upfront. Should we win your case, the cost forms part of the legal fees we retain from your damages check. But don’t worry – your lawyer will explain exactly how our fee structure works, should you hire us.

What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident

Yes, car accident witnesses can help your case. But they’re not all you should be thinking about. If you’re in a car crash in CA, here’s what else you can do to strengthen your claim.

  • Call 911. Police will arrive and provide an accident report you can give to your attorney. Failing to report a crash with injuries or property damage could result in civil penalties. You may also face license suspension or revocation.
  • Seek medical attention. Never assume that you’re unharmed! Some types of injuries, such as internal bleeding, are insidious and take time to develop.
  • Stay calm and avoid saying anything which implies fault. So, don’t apologize. Keep conversations with the other driver(s) involved brief and to the point.
  • If you can, take pictures of hazards, your injuries, and property damage. Your attorney can use such evidence to build a case. Expert witnesses can also review these images.
  • Contact a car accident attorney to discuss a personal injury claim. Although you technically have two years from the crash date to pursue a claim, waiting means you could lose vital evidence.

How You Can Help if You Witness a Car Accident

Have you witnessed a car crash in California? While you’re not obliged to offer aid, here’s how you might help victims in need.

  • Check it’s safe to approach the vehicles. Only do what you can safely – do not put your own life at risk.
  • If there are serious or major injuries, call 911. Otherwise, you might offer comfort and reassurance before calling the police.
  • Leave your personal information, such as your name and number, with the police. As a witness, you may be required to tell the police and attorneys what happened. There’s a small chance you may be asked to testify in court.
  • Take pictures of the crash scene and any injuries. The information you capture can be valuable to a victim’s compensation claim.
  • Try, safely, to reassure the driver(s) involved to reduce the risk of confrontations. But don’t get in the middle of an argument. Leave such matters to the police.

Remember, although you’re not legally required to stop and help, you could save a life. And at the very least, you could help someone secure the justice they deserve.

Free Consultation with Car Crash Injury Lawyers in California

Car accident witnesses can help to prove an injury claim. But don’t worry if you’re in a car crash and there are no witnesses! You can still pursue a personal injury lawsuit with help from the May Firm.

At the May Firm, our car accident attorneys know how stressful crashes can be. That’s why we offer compassionate, client-centered legal services to every accident victim. To our attorneys, clients always come first. We truly care about every client – you’re more than just a case to us.

When you walk through our doors, you become part of the May Firm family. And we’ll fight to get you the justice you deserve. We won’t settle for anything less.

Call now to tell us what happened and schedule your free consultation. Every initial meeting is free, and we don’t charge a dollar unless we win your case. That’s how confident we are in winning the claims we take on! Contact us now – you deserve to pursue your legal rights fully.