The expert witness of a case may need to refute certain statements that another witness or the lawyer states during the examination. This may require an explanation, a detailing of an incident or backing up an answer or refuting the statement through facts. The opposing lawyer may use the same tactic when asking questions during the examination stage to confuse or exclude an expert witness. Some statements require clarification such as when the lawyer asks about a problem, an issue or the incident. These could mean anything, and the expert must focus the statement on a specific matter.
Avoid Figuring out the Question Behind the Question
It is important for an expert witness to avoid thinking about the question asked too much. The lawyer will want certain information during the examination period, and only he or she will know what that is. Answering the question to the best of the ability of the lawyer is often the only way to prevent exclusion, disqualification or inadmissible evidence. By showing that the testing methods are valid and have reliable data with conclusive results, the professional may have a better chance of remaining on the case. With relevance to the subject material, he or she may help the lawyer that hired him or her.
The True Focus on the Question
The expert should devote his or her attention and energy on answering the question clearly and completely. There should remain no doubt that the professional understands the field of study. A clear and concise answer may also remove confusion which may also, in turn, help the lawyer understand the subject material better. This is important, so the results and information given about the case are available and received without conflict. The opposing lawyer and judge may need time to comprehend the data further and better. With the focus on answering and completely giving the necessary information, the expert has a greater chance of informing the courtroom.
The I Don’t Know Rule
If the expert is unaware of the answer, it is perfectly within his or her purview to say I don’t know. While when concerning the field of study and how to produce results from testing methods, this is not a valid answer, he or she could give this answer if the question is not within the scope of the field or if the subject material requires additional research for specific matters. The professional should not feel pressured to know all the answers no matter how much the opposing legal counsel appears to put on the pressure. Some answers require a no.
Before answering questions about paperwork, documents and certain files, the professional should analyze them first. It is critical to fully know and become aware of the details contained within various papers and documents before giving any answers about the information submitted. Just because the expert uses the document in his or her field of study does not mean that the professional should not assess what is given in the courtroom. Some files have different details while others expose facts that may counter what the expert specified previously.
The Lack of Argument
The opposing legal counsel during an examination may attempt to insight an argument from the expert. It is important that the assessment and examination has a lack of argument. This may prove that the professional does know his or her field of study and is aware of how to proceed correctly. This lack of argument may also show the court that the professional belongs in the case and is reliable and relevant.