This is the fourth post in our series on handling bicycle accident cases in Fort Worth, Texas. In the last article, we discussed methods of establishing a defendant’s liability. It is important to conduct a thorough investigation and gather the evidence to prove responsibility and damages. Hiring a lawyer with the resources to investigate the facts and the experience to analyze the case can be essential. In this post we will discuss the need for expert witnesses in bicycle collision cases. If you or a loved on has been injured in a bike accident, we suggest that you contact an attorney immediately.
As we have discussed earlier in this series, parties who are injured in bicycle accidents will be required to prove that the defendant is responsible for causing the accident. In addition, the victim will need to demonstrate the amount of damages that resulted from the crash. In some cases, evidence of a driver’s liability and damage amounts could be very straightforward. In other cases, complicating factors, disputes over the circumstances of the case, or extensive injuries could create the need for expert advice. In Texas, a party wishing to introduce facts based on “specialized skill or knowledge” must use an expert witness in the relevant field to produce the information.
If the driver’s and the rider’s statements about the crash are inconsistent, for example, expert witnesses may be necessary to support a party’s account of the incident. An accident reconstructionist may shed light on crash details. This type of specialist will review the police report, road conditions, weather conditions, bike wreckage, vehicle locations, and speeds at the time of the accident. The reconstructionist will issue a report with his opinion of the facts. As another example, if the driver is accused of being distracted while driving, the parties may engage an expert who analyzes on-board navigation system data to see if he was driving erratically. It is important to note that the defense may also engage its own experts and submit their reports into evidence. The expert witnesses will also testify if needed in a court proceeding. A jury will ultimately decide which specialist’s opinions, if any, accurately depict the facts. The specialized knowledge of the expert witnesses may be a powerful tool in proving liability.
When a bicycle is struck by a motor vehicle, one can imagine the potential seriousness of the resulting injuries. In this circumstance, several expert witnesses may be required to support the victim’s damage calculation. Expert witnesses such a physician specializing in the type of injury might issue a report on the medical prognosis and the level of medical care that will be required over the life of the victim. A vocational expert may provide data on the victim’s ability to work following the accident. If the rider had a lucrative career but suffered brain damage preventing him from returning to work, an economist may evaluate the loss of future earnings. In each case, the expert witness’ testimony will be an important element in the damage calculation.
Expert witnesses can play a vital role in any bicycle accident case. When choosing an attorney to handle your case, select a law firm that has the resources to retain the necessary specialists on your behalf while the case is pending. Your counsel will often need to pay the fees associated with these witnesses up front. Finding a lawyer with adequate assets will help ensure that your case is handled properly. This is true whether your accident occurs in Fort Worth or in other areas of Texas.