Is Your Expert Qualified?

Do you wonder how to determine if someone is qualified as an expert, to make an opinion on a factor of your case that needs an expert’s touch?

Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses[1]: A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion.

Knowledge: Does the education, experience, training or skill lead to some specialized knowledge that will help the jury or judge to understand why an opinion is right or wrong?

Skill: Does your potential expert have a special skill that the general public does not have, and can they explain how this is relevant to the litigation at hand? Does this professional have the skill to explain, perform or demonstrate their specialized knowledge that will help the trier of fact to understand what his/her opinion means?

Experience: Does your potential expert have the appropriate experience, that is, have they been working in that particular aspect of their profession? How many years of experience in the general field would be considered adequate? Is that experience recent or in the distant past? In a world where there are many new discoveries, research and procedures for doing any work, your potential expert should have the requisite experience in the recent past, generally the past five years is considered sufficient.

Training: Does your potential expert have training over and above their education, which may prepare them for opinion making? Did they get on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and fellowships or take specialized courses in the particular area that you need them to review and give an opinion?

Education: Does your potential expert have the education considered necessary to make an opinion? Look at baseline education and further degrees.

Although the Rule says that the expert is qualified by knowledge, skill, experience training OR education, naturally you will want to have the right qualifications for your expert witness.

Dawn Cook RN Life Care Planner is knowledgeable, skilled, experienced, has training and education in medical damages, including life care planning and past medical bill reviews. She can be reached at 702-544-2159.

[1] Federal Rules of Evidence (2018 Edition)