Expert witnesses play a very important role should a personal injury case go to court. An expert witness is an independent individual that has no link to the case but is an expert in a related field. Their role is to provide an expert opinion on matters outside the ordinary knowledge of the court. An expert witness must give an entirely independent opinion that is confined to their area of expertise. An expert witness will be retained by either the claimant or the defendant in the hope that they will provide an opinion that supports their case.

An expert witness will prepare a report for the court. As per Order 39 Rule 46 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, any expert reports must be disclosed before the trial begins. An expert witness must also disclose any professional or personal relationship that exists with any of the parties involved in the case which may potentially compromise their independence as an expert. At trial, an expert witness will be cross examined, by the barrister for the other side, on their evidence.

The fundamental role of an expert witness is to provide truthful, independent, and impartial expert evidence, within their field of expertise, to the court, despite of any duty owed to the party instructing them. They must state the facts, assumptions, and underlying scientific methodology on which their expert evidence is based and in doing so help the court to better understand the issues involved in the case.

Upon receiving your initial instructions, a solicitor may recommend that an expert report be obtained from an expert witness. Depending on the nature of your case this expert may be from several different occupations including a medical professional, an engineer, or a Garda. A solicitor will recommend the most relevant expert for your case upon review of your file.

*In contentious business a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

**This information is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. No liability is accepted by McElhinney & Associates for any action taken in reliance on the information contained herein. Any and all information is subject to change.