There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Questions
Bob Katz wants Maryland, Virginia and DC accident victims to have all the facts so they can make the right decision when hiring an attorney. Accordingly, this section of our website is meant to provide basic insight into the issues we deal with for our clients on a day to day basis. It is NOT meant to be a substitute for real legal advice or opinion applicable to your particular situation. Please note therefore that the following materials are NOT Legal Advice or Legal Opinion.
All materials provided herein are prepared for a general audience for general informational purposes only. Their sole purpose is to better educate accident victims about a variety of general legal issues so these victims they can become more educated consumers of legal services. Information provided on the Sites should never be a substitute for consulting with a lawyer. Please contact us directly for advice on your specific situation.
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What is the Role of an Expert Witness in a Personal Injury Case?
The Role of Experts in Personal Injury Cases
Generally, there are two types of witnesses that may be involved with an accident case:
- Eyewitnesses who were present at the scene of the incident and have personal knowledge of what they saw or heard; and,
- Expert witnesses who may be hired by your attorney to assist with matters of proof.
An expert witness is a unique participant in the trial process because he or she did not actually “witness” anything related to the accident. Instead, these individuals help prove different elements of your case because they bring specialized knowledge to the table. Typically, they offer their services to support your attorney’s trial preparations as:
- Consulting Experts: A consulting expert is often described as an extension of the law firm, assisting lawyers with developing trial strategy, reviewing documents, and providing other advice. Attorneys have education and experience in legal matters, but may require support when it comes to medical, technical, financial, and other topics.
- Testifying Experts: This specialist will actually be called by your attorney as a witness at trial, to help explain complicated subjects in language that the jury or judge understand.
At times, a single individual may serve as both a consulting and testifying expert witness. Depending on the details of your case, there may be multiple experts involved – covering a number of different topics.
Accident Reconstruction Specialists
When there is a degree of speculation involving fault in the incident that caused your injuries, your lawyer may utilize an accident reconstruction specialist. These experts typically have backgrounds in physics and other fields that enable them to assess the science behind accidents. By using their own knowledge and the assistance of technology, accident reconstruction experts can establish links between actions, conditions, and fault.
An accident reconstruction specialist is especially useful considering the chaos and confusion that usually surround accidents. Drivers, passengers, and witnesses may not have a clear recollection of what happened or they may provide conflicting accounts of what they experienced. Alternatively, as in the case of the woman killed in the College Park accident, the primary witness may be unavailable.
Other Types of Experts
In addition to accident reconstruction experts, your attorney may also retain the services of other specialists, including:
- Physicians and Medical Experts: One of the most common types of experts in a personal injury case is a doctor, usually a specialist in a certain medical field. A physician may participate in your case to review your injuries and treatment, which is especially useful when your lawyer must establish proof for non-economic damages. It is hard to put a dollar value on pain and suffering, or quality of life; a doctor can use the information in your medical records, including details on procedures, surgeries, and prescriptions, to support your claim for these types of losses.
- Mental Health Experts: When your injuries have a significant emotional impact on your life, your attorney may use a mental health expert. These specialists can act as a consulting expert or testifying witness just as other physicians; however, the focus would be on how the accident and your injuries have resulted in emotional distress.
- Actuaries and Financial Specialists: Part of your claim in a personal injury matter may involve lost income if you are unable to work for health reasons. Proving your lost wages is not difficult in certain cases, such as when you are out of work for two weeks while you recover from your injuries: Your pay stubs can be used to establish your claim. However, your professional future may also be affected by your injuries. For example, if you are unable to ever return to work in a job that requires certain physical capabilities, or you suffered a brain injury that impacts your cognitive abilities, so you cannot return to a profession that requires mental skills, these are issues to which a financial expert can testify. These experts are useful in proving loss of future income that would otherwise be speculative and difficult to measure. Your amount of compensation will be higher when you can prove what you would have earned in wages had the accident never occurred.
Depending on the complexity of the evidence involved in your personal injury case, it is possible that your attorney will call upon one or more of these types of expert witnesses to assist. These specialists have meticulous skills in their respective areas of expertise, and they are able to take complicated subject matter and turn it into concepts that average people like those who may serve on a jury can comprehend. Of course, you can expect that the responsible party or insurance company will also retain experts to contest your allegations. For this reason, it is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney who has extensive experience utilizing experts, whether for consultation or to testify in court.
If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence in Maryland, Washington D.C. or Virginia, please contact the Baltimore headquarters office Bob Katz Law. Our lawyers have access to a wide range of experts in different fields, and we retain these individuals as necessary to prosecute personal injury claims on behalf of our clients. We are happy to answer your questions or schedule an assessment to review the details of your case.
What are the Shared Fault Rules of Neligence in Virginia?
Virginia has a shared fault rule that is relatively harsh on the claimant when compared to other states in the USA. This is one of the few states that retain the law of Contributory Negligence. What it means is that the person that is injured shares some level of blame for the incident in which they were hurt. Most states have instead opted for the comparative negligence framework which allows the court to adjust the damages bearing in mind the percentage of fault that lies with the claimant.
In Virginia there is no such sliding scale of adjustment. No matter how small your fault is as a claimant, the entire lawsuit is dismissed and you get no compensation. In other words you must be totally blameless in order to make an effective claim. Your attorney can advise you on whether you are liable to be denied compensation under these somewhat harsh rules in Virginia. This advice should be based on the circumstances of your case.
What languages does your law firm support?
We at Bob Katz are multicultural and multilingual. What this means to our clients is that we have many translators available on-hand that speak various languages, including but not limited to Korean, Spanish, Russian and more. These translators are available to all of our clients throughout the claims process during our regular business hours and in some cases even after-hours. There is no additional cost for this service.
We believe that by being able to effectively communicate in an array of languages, that we can offer our clients exceptional communication in a language they can understand, so that they can make informed decisions when dealing with their accident or injury case.
If you need help with your personal injury and aren't 100% confident in your understanding of complicated legal matters in English, or prefer to communicate in a different language for your important legal matter, please give us a call.
We proudly speak
Indian (Hindi, Kashmiri, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu)
You can reach an interpreter from our staff directly at one of the following phone numbers:
Can I ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Maryland?
Maryland Code generally prohibits driving any kind of vehicle on the sidewalk under Title 21 of the Vehicle Laws.
The code lists bicycles as an exception only where permitted by local ordinance. Different counties and cities in Maryland have different rules so there is no easy general answer.
The best guide I have on local bike laws is here
If you are a bicyclist who was injured while riding on a sidewalk or a pedestrian injured by a bicyclist while walking on a sidewalk, your best bet is to contact a Maryland bicycle accident lawyer who is familiar with the bicycle law in the particular county or city where you were injured.
For more information visit
What states, cities and counties does your law firm service?
We serve and represent injury victims in the following areas in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Maryland - Annapolis, Arbutus, Baltimore City, Bel Air, Bethesda, Bowie, Cambridge, Catonsville, Centreville, Columbia, Dundalk, Easton, Ellicott City, Essex, Ferndale, Frederick, Ft. Meade, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Glen Burnie, Greenbelt, Hanover, Hyattsville, Laurel, Linthicum, Ocean City, Olney, Owings Mills, Pasadena, Randallstown, Rockville, Salisbury, Severn, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Towson
We serve the following counties in Maryland - Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carol County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Prince George's County, and Montgomery County.
Virginia - Arlington, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Lorton, Manassas, McLean, Richmond, Alexandria, Annandale, Centreville, Dale City, Dumfries, Leesburg, Reston, Springfield, Tyson's Corner, Vienna, Woodbridge.
We serve the following counties in Virginia - Arlington County, Clark County, Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Fredericksburg County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, and Warren County
Washington D.C. - All Areas