Expert Witnesses: Tips on Avoiding Contradictions
Jurors actively and continuously assess the consistency of an expert witnesses’s testimony. Inconsistency tends to reduce the expert’s credibility with jurors. Things to watch out for in preparing the direct examination of your expert include:
- Is there anything in writing that would contradict the testimony you are considering eliciting from he or she during trial?
- Deposition testimony
- Other case testimony
- Written expert reports
- Literature the expert has written
- Is any part of the expert’s proposed testimony go- ing to be inconsistent with the medical records, accident reports, photographs, etc.?
- Is the expert’s testimony consistent with the overall framework and themes of the case you are trying?
The key, know your facts and what has become part of the record during pretrial proceedings. Then make sure that there is not something out there from another case or source that can be used to impeach your experts credibility.