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Lay Witnesses vs. Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases: What’s the Difference?


You’ve probably heard of the terms “lay witnesses” and “expert witnesses,” but do you know the exact roles a lay witness and an expert witness can play in your personal injury case? Most likely, you don’t have a deep understanding of these two types of witnesses’ roles in personal injury cases and what it takes to be either an expert or a lay witness. Keep reading to learn the difference between lay and expert witnesses.

Lay Witnesses

Lay witnesses are usually people called to testify in court about what they perceived at an accident scene. A lay witness testifies about what they saw, heard, or did at an accident scene.

According to Florida statute 90.701, a lay witness does not need skill, special knowledge, or training to testify in court. According to the law, a lay witness testifies based on opinions or inferences and not based on facts. That means that lay witnesses’ testimonies are based on their perception and personal knowledge and not expert knowledge.

It is important to note that people close to a case can also act as lay witnesses, even if they were not at the accident scene. Such people include victims’ family members. For instance, in an effort to prove pain and suffering, attorneys usually call upon victims’ family members to testify.

Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses in personal injury cases are skilled individuals called upon to help make sense of factual evidence. Many times, expert witnesses’ testimonies play a massive role in influencing the outcome of personal injury cases.

According to Florida statute 90.702, experience, training, skill, knowledge, and/or education qualifies a person as an expert witness.

Expert witnesses are categorized into two broad categories.

Consulting Expert Witnesses

Consulting expert witnesses don’t testify in court. However, even though a consulting expert witness won’t testify in court, they can be crucial to your personal injury case. These witnesses usually explain complex matters to attorneys to help them understand how to approach personal injury cases. Additionally, the things a consulting expert witness shares with your attorney don’t need to be shared with the other side.

Testifying Expert Witnesses

Testifying expert witnesses, unlike consulting expert witnesses, appear and testify in court. These witnesses usually provide their testimonies in the presence of juries or judges.

It is vital to note that some expert witnesses can act as both testifying and consulting expert witnesses.

Contact Us for Legal Help

After an accident, apart from finding witnesses to testify in your favor, there is a lot more you need to do to ensure your personal injury case’s outcome favors you. Without legal expertise, you might not understand the things you need to do to ensure your case is a success. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at the Pendas Law Firm can assess your case and advise you on what you need to do to help your case. Throughout your case, we will walk with you and help you do whatever needs to be done to ensure success. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and receive the legal help you need and deserve.

The Pendas Law Firm represents clients in the Miami, Orlando, Ocala, Daytona Beach, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach areas.



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