Expert Witness Testimony in Civil Matters
The Federal Rules of Evidence provide clear requirements for admitting expert witness testimony in civil trials. Rule 702 provides that a witness who is not connected to a case may offer testimony in court if he or she has specialized expert knowledge that would assist the judge or jury in making a determination about a relevant matter of fact or understanding an important item of evidence in a plaintiff or defendant’s case.
Qualification as an Expert Witness
Expert witness testimony is essential in a case. It is the first step toward all the evidence in a very trial. Expert witness finance matters require a heightened level of expertise because the evidence that they interpret and explain to a jury is typically rather complex in nature.
The Role of Expert Witness Testimony
When an expert witness testifies, he or she provides an honest and objective opinion about the evidence being analyzed. Expert witnesses do not interpret matters in a way that unfairly favors the party who is introducing their testimony into evidence. In fact, expert witnesses are generally prohibited from sharing their opinion on a matter prior to being hired. In some jurisdictions, a court will call expert witnesses sua sponte, on its own motion.
How Expert Witness Testimony is Effective
Typically, the most effective expert witnesses are those who are familiar with the legal process and have experience contributing expert witness testimony in prior matters. They need to be able to explain complicated concepts in a way that people can understand easily without having any knowledge about the subject matter discussed. In the context of finance, experts will help juries to understand exhibits of evidence such as financial statements, contracts, invoices, tax information, and other important financial documents that a layperson may find difficult to understand.