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What makes a good expert witness for a construction dispute?

| Feb 11, 2021 | Construction Law |

Construction disputes can be challenging to resolve, particularly when dealing with a client who does not understand the technicalities involved. Even though you repeatedly explain how factors outside your control caused the damage, they may still be determined to hold you responsible.

If the dispute ends up in litigation, you might worry that the judge is just as clueless about construction as your client. Fortunately, the judge does not need to know anything about building techniques. If you hire the right expert witness, the judge should take their opinions into account in making a decision. Having an attorney who also has construction experience can help your cause.

Your choice of an expert witness could affect the outcome

Take the time to find the right person for the job. Here are some qualities to look for:

  • Specialty: If metal is the problem, find a metallurgist. You need someone with an in-depth knowledge of one particular area — an expert, not a jack of all trades.
  • Authority: What credential does your witness have to prove their expertise? If they have acted as an expert witness before or have published industry papers, it may help.
  • Clarity: However smart the person, if they cannot communicate their findings in a manner the judge understands, they will not serve your purpose.
  • Personality: Remember, the other side may also hire an expert witness. If your expert witness is obnoxious and the other is charming, it may count against you.
  • Impartiality: Your brother in law may be the best in their field. Yet, the judge may find it hard to overlook the family relationship.

The opposing attorney will be looking for reasons to discredit your witness and weaken your argument. Choose your expert witness well.

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