It’s not always easy to find someone who can help you determine who is at fault for a failure, a safety issue, or a contractual breach. Ultimately, you want someone who understands the law and has a firm grasp of the concept of engineering and everything pertaining to it. If you need an engineering expert witness or licensed engineers who aid in risk assessments, consider taking these five steps below.
Before reaching out to a litigation economics consulting firm like the Knowles Group for help, it can be worth working through the issues of the case to determine what it is you really need. Find out what the client’s story is and outline the technical facts for each claimed matter. It may surprise you to learn how many unique elements there are in a case and how each of them can determine the type of expert you use. It can also often help to determine the type of structures involved, the failures or issues, and any unique components that stand out.
Upon establishing the facts of the case, you may then be able to narrow down the specialty fields you might require. For example, you may need an engineering expert witness who can work closely with a commercial building expert witness. They might also need to have a firm understanding of a specific type of framework or roofing material that sits at the center of the claim. The more precise you can be, the easier it might be to find the expert you are looking for.
Not every expert witness you call upon will have the capacity to be tied up in a case that takes years to resolve. During the early days of exploring a claim, identify the possible timeframe. For example, the average crown court case can take 525 days from the offense to the case’s conclusion. However, an engineer’s role in that case can be as simple as a brief analysis. Being able to pass this information on to expert witnesses can be helpful in selecting the right ones for your needs.
For judges to approve of an engineering expert witness, they often require that they have a professional engineering license. This license is indicative of years of experience, a high level of education, and adherence to business and ethics codes. This is why experience matters in expert witness testimony. Without this qualification and resulting experience, you may not be able to put together a strong case with as much expert evidence as you may have hoped.
A qualified engineer may be highly skilled in what they do, but it certainly helps if they also have experience giving depositions, putting together technical reports, and providing testimony in a courtroom. It’s at this point you can also learn about their testimony style. The expert may break down the facts into layman terms for a jury or simply discuss what they know from their perspective.
Even if it’s not always that straightforward to find the right engineering expert witness for your case, this information above may help. The more experienced they are with their line of work and court cases, the sounder your case might be.