Ever wondered what it takes to become an expert witness? The answer may come as a surprise. While there are basic qualifications concerning education, skill, knowledge, training, or experience, any profession can have an expert witness. The goal is to help the court determine a fact or understand the evidence.
Expert witnesses can be found in any profession. Some expert witnesses may seem more familiar because of their portrayal on television and in movies. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the medical community, along with scientists and engineers, are frequently sought-after during lawsuits. Although many expert witnesses have advanced education, it is not a requirement because job experience, skill, knowledge, or training are also qualifications. A lawsuit could have almost any issue at the heart of it, so expert witnesses are needed virtually all professions. A lawsuit may need a banking expert witness or a classic car restoration expert witness. While the two professions are very different, it all depends on the lawsuit and what type of expertise is needed.
There is no set of rules governing expert witnesses. Instead, most experts are considered based on one of two noteworthy court opinions. The first, Frye vs. United States, requires that experts must be testifying from a shared body of knowledge or what another expert in the field would testify. A more recent court opinion, Daubert vs. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has less stringent requirements. It allows for an expert witness to base their testimony on personal opinion as long as other specific conditions are met.
Lawsuits are filed for a multitude of different reasons, so it makes sense expert witnesses can be from any profession. Advanced education is not required depending on the specific issue. When the court needs help understanding evidence or in trying to determine a fact, an expert witness may be needed.