Lafayette Injury Attorney Expert Witnesses | Expert Witnesses in Lafayette Personal Injury Cases
In every personal injury trial, or every personal injury lawsuit that is filed, a Lafayette personal injury attorney will retain at least one expert to testify. At a bare minimum, your Lafayette personal injury attorney will need to have the testimony of a medical doctor, preferably the treating physician. The Lafayette doctor must give testimony that your injuries were, more likely than not, caused by your particular accident. Without this type of testimony, your personal injury claim could be defeated at the close of the plaintiff’s case-in-chief.
Types of Expert Witnesses in a Lafayette Personal Injury Case:
A brief summary of the typical Lafayette expert witnesses one might see in a personal injury case is provided to aid in your understanding of why expert witnesses are so important to personal injury lawsuits.
Expert Physicians’ or Doctors’ Testimony
In every injury case, there are medical records, which serve as evidence. These medical records must be retrieved by your Lafayette Personal Injury Attorney in a manner that makes them admissible at the time of trial. Having admissible medical records and medical bills is not enough to get your case submitted to the jury. There must be relevant and competent medical testimony to show the treatment that is reflected in the medical records was necessary to treat your injuries. In a Lafayette Personal Injury case, you must prove that, more likely than not, your injury was medically caused by the event. Finally, a doctor usually testifies that your medical bills are:
- customary in Lafayette, Louisiana; and
- necessary to properly treat the injured plaintiff for the injuries that were sustained.
Economic Damage Experts
In addition to having a doctor testify, your Lafayette Injury Lawyer will undoubtedly have an economist testify. Louisiana juries are sometimes asked to consider "after-tax dollars" in computing your economic loss. A Lafayette Parish Personal Injury Lawyer will often call a certified public accountant (CPA) to testify. That economics expert will rely upon your prior W-2 statements and your prior income tax returns. When an economist testifies, he/she must give the jury testimony to demonstrate past loss of wages, or past loss of earning capacity, as well as future loss of wages and/or future loss of earning capacity. In determining your future loss of earning capacity, they usually select 65 years of age to compute your work-life expectancy. A Lafayette Economics Expert Witness may also testify concerning taxable income or the future value of money awarded now.
Lafayette Vocational Rehabilitation Expert Witnesses
Quite often, your Lafayette Injury and Accident Attorney will retain a certified vocational rehabilitationist to testify when your case goes to trial. A Vocational Rehabilitationist looks at all the medical records, reads the doctor’s deposition, and does testing upon the injury victim. The types of testing that are frequently performed include:
- IQ tests;
- psychological surveys;
- skills assessment tests;
- the WAIS-R IQ tests;
- aptitude testing; and
- learning disability testing.
Further, a comprehensive vocational evaluation is performed to determine your transferable skills, and then the testing, as well as the physician’s analysis, are all summarized and employability analysis is performed. The defense will undoubtedly try to show that you can go back to work and keep gainful employment. They do this to reduce the amount of your future economic wage loss or future loss of earning capacity. If you are the plaintiff in a serious injury case, it is essential that you retain your own vocational rehabilitation expert.
These Lafayette area Vocational Rehabilitation professionals can help you get your life back to normal:
2435 West Congress Street
Lafayette, LA 70506
New Directions of Lafayette
310 Youngsville Highway
Lafayette, LA 70508
706 East Vermilion Street
Lafayette, LA 70501
Rehab Services of Acadiana
850 Kaliste Saloom Road
Lafayette, LA 70508
Rehabilitation & Vocational
1720 Kaliste Saloom Road
Lafayette, LA 70508
Southern Spine Institute
1103 Kaliste Saloom Road
Lafayette, LA 70508
Expert witnesses are defined under Louisiana Rule of Evidence 702, which states:
Art. 702. Testimony by experts
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.
Expert Witness Standards
In almost every Lafayette personal injury lawsuit, either the defense or the plaintiff’s counsel, and sometimes both, will challenge expert opinions, either in whole or in part. The standards for what types of expert testimony are allowed are found below.
Federal Expert Witness Standards
In 1993, the United States Supreme Court decided Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993), which dealt with the standard in the Federal Rules of Evidence for admitting the testimony of scientific experts. In Daubert, and also discussing FRE 702, the Supreme Court was establishing the trial judge as a “gatekeeper” to ensure that any and all scientific testimony is not only relevant, but reliable.
Louisiana Expert Witness Standard
Louisiana has generally accepted the Daubert test for Lafayette Expert Witnesses. In the case of State v. Foret, 628 So. 2d 1116 (La. 1993), the Supreme Court of Louisiana found that because the Federal Rules of Evidence for expert witnesses were the same as Louisiana's rules, it made sense to adopt a Supreme Court ruling which explained the rules.
Courts in the Lafayette area:
If your claim is worth $3000 then you will file in the District Court, which have unlimited civil jurisdiction:
Lafayette 15th Judicial District Court
Lafayette Parish Courthouse
800 South Buchanan St, PO Box 2009, Lafayette LA 70501
You may also file in one of these courts, which have jurisdiction for claims up to $25,000:
Lafayette City Court
Serving clients throughout Southern Louisiana, including Alexandria, Broussard, Cankton, Carencro, Duson, Lafayette, Larabee, Long Bridge, Maurice, Milton, Mire, Monroe, Morgan City, New Iberia, Scott, St. Martinville, Youngsville, and other communities in Lafayette Parish.