What Is an Expert Witness in an Insurance Claim?

You may have a lot on the line during an insurance claim in Tampa. The fate of your home and family may hang in the balance. Hiring an expert witness could be what tilts the scales in your favor. An expert witness can provide proof that what you are claiming is more likely to be true than not true using special knowledge on the subject. Whether or not you need to hire an expert witness, however, depends on the specific factors of your case.

What Are Expert Witnesses?

An expert witness is not an eyewitness. An eyewitness is someone who was at the scene of the accident or incident and saw what happened. While an eyewitness can provide important facts on how the property damage or personal injury occurred, the courts will not view him or her as an authority on the subject. An expert witness, on the other hand, is someone with enough knowledge and experience to establish him or her as a trusted source of information about something relevant to the case. Many different types of expert witnesses may testify during an insurance claim.

  • Doctors
  • Health care personnel
  • Engineers and architects
  • Economic experts
  • Real property damage experts
  • Damage repair experts
  • Valuation experts
  • General contractors
  • Meteorologists
  • Environmental safety and health experts
  • Mold experts

An expert witness is someone with years of education, training and hands-on experience within a subject that is pertinent to the case. It is a person who can offer unique knowledge and insights into a key matter, such as whether a storm could cause the type of damage claimed. Expert witnesses can break down and explain complicated construction and engineering matters, such as damage calculations and cost engineering. An expert witness’s testimony can help an insurance company, judge or jury decide on a case.

Do You Need an Expert Witness for Your Insurance Claim?

In general, you will not need to hire an expert witness if your claim can successfully settle. If the insurance company is willing to settle your claim, hiring an expert will not be worth the costs. If your insurance claim goes to trial in Florida, however, you may need one to help prove your case to a judge and jury. Your case may go to trial if you have significant losses and the insurance company is not offering a high enough settlement, or if the insurance company denied your claim. You may also end up in trial if you are bringing a bad faith insurance claim against an insurer.

During a civil trial, the burden of proof will rest with you, the plaintiff. It will be your responsibility to establish the insurance company’s liability through a preponderance of the evidence. An expert witness could be important for proving a claim in Tampa if your case involves complex issues that the average jury will not understand. An expert witness could testify to the fact that the insurance company is handling your case in bad faith, for example, by offering insider knowledge on how the insurance process works. Whether or not you need an expert witness is something you should discuss with a Tampa insurance claim attorney.

How Do You Find an Expert Witness?

If you or an insurance lawyer believe you will benefit from hiring an expert witness during your claim, you will need to find the right person to hire. The best way to get in touch with subject matter experts is by hiring a lawyer to represent you. A lawyer will have connections with experts in your area. Your lawyer may also front the costs of hiring the expert if you cannot afford to pay the fees upfront. Some lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis, with fees only deducted out of a settlement or verdict won. Discuss your claim in more detail with an attorney to find out if hiring a lawyer is in your best interest, and if so, where to find one.