If your law firm is pursuing a large lawsuit, you will likely need to secure expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. The testimony of an expert witness will add credibility to your case and help the court to determine whether the claims of your legal team are factually warranted and thus establish appropriate monetary compensation. For law firms who lack the cash flow to pay expert witnesses out of pocket while a case is pending, legal funding may be a good option that will allow your firm to secure expert witnesses crucial to winning the case.
Expert witnesses may be either medical or non-medical experts. Non-medical experts are often financial professionals who can testify to the nature and extent of financial harm caused to an individual or their business. Forensic accountants are popular expert witnesses, performing deep dives into the finances of the opposing party to determine whether their accounting practices and balance sheets mask any untoward arrangements. Other non-medical expert witnesses may include industry professionals in the case you are litigating. For example, an expert witness who has worked with the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) may be used in a pharmaceuticals or consumer products case.
In a medical malpractice case, or a class action or individual high-stakes lawsuit involving workplace-related hazards or a number of injuries, medical experts will be used. In a medical malpractice case, a medical expert will often testify to what the routine and normal course of care would have been with an adequate practitioner. In both malpractice cases and workplace-related or personal injury cases, a medical expert can also testify as to the nature and extent of the plaintiffs’ injuries and the standard cost of treatment. Given the enormous costs of healthcare in the United States, if plaintiffs require hospitalization, surgery, or long-term physical therapy, a medical expert can be invaluable in justifying these costs to a court. If you are unable to use a medical expert, a court may decide that the recommended care (and its cost) are unwarranted, so use of medical expert testimony is almost a matter of course in successful lawsuits.
Expert testimony in any form comes at a high cost. Non-medical expert witnesses can cost $250 per hour or more, both for preparation and in-court testimony, as a nationwide average. Medical experts average around $350 per hour for witness preparation and $500 per hour for in court testimony. If you are located in a high cost of living area like the New York metro area or Washington, D.C., fees may be significantly higher. Some physicians who act as medical experts in many successful cases choose to charge a flat fee instead. If your law firm requires the use of expert testimony to pursue a case but does not have the cash flow to pay an expert while the case is pending, legal funding may be a good option. Legal funding is not just useful in covering the costs of operating a law firm. It can also be used for expert witness fees and other direct court costs. Given the nature of the profession, many expert witnesses require payment upfront even if the potential settlement is large. Legal funding acts as an advance on the settlement money that can be used to pay an expert witness now, in order to secure that settlement later on. If you are interested in learning more about legal funding for expert witnesses, contact us today.
Does your lawsuit need witness experts to testify that your client was harmed by a third party? Tribeca Lawsuit Loans offers pre-settlement loans so you can cover the costs for expert witnesses to support your case.
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