Expert Witness

What is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is an expert who by virtue of their knowledge, skill, experience, training or education is considered by a court of law to have expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular subject or field beyond that of the average person. An expert witness is considered to have sufficient expertise that their expert opinion might be relied upon by the court in regard to evidence or facts.

In a courtroom setting, there are two types of witnesses; lay witnesses and expert witnesses.  Simply stated, an eyewitness to an event may only tell what they saw and are not allowed to tell what others have said (hearsay) or to give an expert opinion.  An expert witness on the other hand, may express their expert opinion on issues that fall within the scope of their expertise.

In the U.S., a party may hire a non-testifying expert witness to help them evaluate a case. For example, in an aircraft accident involving air traffic control, a party may hire an experienced air traffic controller to review the evidence and make a determination as to whether or not an air traffic controller acted in accordance with FAA directives and their required provision of reasonable care. This kind of expert opinion is protected from discovery.  If the aviation expert finds something that is against its client, the opposite party will not know it. This privilege is similar to attorney work product which is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

If an expert witness needs to testify in court, the attorney-client privilege is no longer protected and the identity of the expert witness and nearly all documents used to prepare their testimony will become discoverable.

Williams Aviation Consultants inc. provides highly credentialed testifying and non-testifying expert witnesses offering objective expert testimony for all your aviation-related needs in areas such as aircraft accidents involving air traffic control, pilots or aircraft maintenance and airport land use, takings, inverse condemnation and others.


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