When you have been injured in an accident or because of another person’s carelessness or recklessness, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. In many personal injury cases, your lawyer will discuss the possibility of an expert witness, or expert witnesses, with you. Expert witnesses can vary greatly depending upon the nature of your personal injury and the facts of the case that have given rise to your lawsuit. In a car accident lawsuit, an expert witness might be an accident reconstruction expert who has used evidence from the scene of the crash to develop an explanation about how the collision occurred. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, an expert witness may be another healthcare provider in the same geographic area and specialty field as the defendant who can testify about whether the defendant’s behavior was negligent.
If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit, we want to tell you more about expert witnesses and how an expert could be useful in your case.
What is an Expert Witness in New Mexico?
Each state has its own rules for identifying expert witnesses. Under New Mexico law, an expert witness is defined as:
“A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education [who] may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.”
Providing Expert Opinion in Personal Injury Cases
Expert witnesses can be called in many different kinds of criminal and civil cases in New Mexico, including in personal injury lawsuits. Here is what New Mexico law says about how an expert witness can provide his or her expert opinion in a legal matter, how that expert opinion can be used in a court case, and when the expert can refer to or base an opinion on evidence that is otherwise inadmissible in the case:
“An expert may base an opinion on facts or data in the case that the expert has been made aware of or personally observed. If the experts in the particular field would reasonably rely on those kinds of facts or data in forming an opinion on the subject, they need not be admissible for the opinion to be admitted. But if the facts or data would otherwise be inadmissible, the proponent of the opinion may disclose them to the jury only if their probative value in helping the jury evaluate the opinion substantially outweighs their prejudicial effect.”
How Do Expert Witnesses Get Their Expertise?
It is important to understand that an expert is providing their expert opinion about a fact or an issue, and that the expert can have specialized knowledge or expertise in a variety of different ways—it all depends upon the type of expert. Some experts might have expert knowledge and are able to provide expert opinions based on their formal education, while others might have expert knowledge and are able to provide expert opinions based on experience.
Contact a New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer for Assistance
Do you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico? One of our experienced Santa Fe personal injury attorneys can speak with you today about your options. Contact Slate Stern Law to learn more about the services we provide to injury victims and their families.