Preparing an Expert Witness for Testimony

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expert witness for testimony

If you are going to trial and relying on the testimony of an expert witness in your case, you will of course need to prepare them for their testimony, even if they have testified many times before.  Here are eight steps for a good prep of your expert. 

Give the Expert the Facts of the Case

Be sure your expert witness knows all the facts of the case.  This may seem obvious, but oftentimes opposing counsel can use it to their advantage if the expert is unsure of certain, more obscure, facts.  The expert who is testifying needs to be as knowledgeable as the attorney, otherwise, there may be push back during cross-examination.

Give Your Expert Time to Prepare Their Testimony

Again, this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but the closer it gets to the date of the trial, the more attorneys try to pack everything possible into their schedule. It is imperative that your expert is given the opportunity to review relevant documents ahead of time, and that they go back and look at their report again, so they are ready for trial. 

If the expert prepared their testimony months in advance, there is a chance that they will forget what is in it and opposing counsel can use that to undermine their authoritative position.

Show That Your Expert is Still Learning in Their Field

Someone who is still working in the field about which they are testifying will have recent and relevant knowledge they can draw upon to provide their testimony. An active medical billing expert is constantly updating their knowledge base of billing codes and procedures. 

If your expert has retired a long time ago, their testimony may carry the weight and wisdom of age, but you run the risk of having the jury perceive them as someone whose expertise is out of date.

Slow, Loud, Smile

These three things will make your jury more receptive to what your expert is saying because they will be a more engaging and interesting speaker. By speaking slowly, the expert can show that he is engaging with his listeners and making sure that what he is saying is connecting with his audience. Speaking loudly does not mean shouting, instead, make sure that the expert is energetic and “in the moment” delivering their testimony. 

Lastly, smiling is such an easy thing to do to not only put members of the jury at ease but also to communicate enthusiasm for their subject matter. Someone who is excited about what they are talking about will make an impression on the jury.

Communicate in the Most Effective Way Possible

The reason it is called expert testimony is that sometimes the issues at hand are very complicated, regardless of whether it is a piece of technology, a process, or complex accounting. The more obscure the issue at hand, the more work the expert will have to do to elevate the listeners by using examples, visual aids, and explanations. 

Have the expert watch the reactions of the jurors for signs they are losing interest, and if that happens, have them ask for permission to move about the courtroom to show an example. The movement will re-capture the attention of the jury.

Remember the Perspective of Someone Who is Not an Expert

One of the most important things you can do when helping to prepare your expert witness is to get them into the shoes of the jurors. Most likely, there will not be people on the jury who have an understanding of what the expert is talking about (but if there are, that is its own danger, addressed below). 

If the expert is caught up in the technical complexity of the interactions between the lawyers, they may lose the perspective of simplifying their topic so an average person can understand it.

Identify if There Are Experts on the Jury

When jurors are knowledgeable in an area related to the issue at trial, it can cause problems for the attorneys. For example, if there is a doctor on the jury, they may be less likely to consider the expert testimony if it is for medical malpractice. Worse, they can influence the rest of the jurors either consciously or unconsciously by revealing this knowledge and their opinion on the expert testimony, so juror selection is particularly important in such cases.

Discourage Conflict with Opposing Counsel

Sometimes experts take the questioning from cross-examination as a personal attack and engage in fighting with the other attorney. Feeling the need to somehow “prove” themselves, they may become defensive or avoid answering questions by turning the questions back on the other attorney. 

The best thing you can do is equip your expert to redirect confrontation and stay calm while continuing to educate the jury throughout the cross-examination.

Why You Need Medical Billing Analysts

It is highly recommended to hire a medical billing expert to determine and provide expert testimony as to the reasonable value of medical service. The provider’s location can affect these costs and reimbursements.

Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant in a case, one of the most important items in Automobile, Personal Injury, and Medical Malpractice cases is the cost of medical bills. Figuring out medical costs can be complicated, and expert guidance is critical to ensuring you have a clear understanding of what is “fair and reasonable” with regards to the finances involved in your medical care.

Medical Billing Analysts offers litigation support services nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada & California. Medical Billing Analysts represent both defendants and plaintiffs with regard to improper medical billing and coding.

The team of MBA professionals will review the hospital, medical and therapy bills to determine the value of past medical expenses, and based on local CPT codes they can also perform a Cost Projection Analysis of future costs. Through meticulous analysis, we can justify the reasonable cost of services which assists in resolving the case.

Contact Medical Billing Analysts by phone or email at 800-292-1919 or intake@medicalbillinganalysts.com. We’re here for you, whether you need an evaluation of a single charge or a complex injury case.