What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is a special kind of witness in legal proceedings, whose opinion may be accepted as evidence in the proceedings if it is based on specialised knowledge and experience. Expert witnesses are engaged by the parties but they are not advocates for the parties’ cases; their duty is to the court.

Advantia provides expert witness services in matters involving heavy vehicles.

Why call upon an expert witness?

Contentious issues in legal proceedings are sometimes resolved with the help of an expert witness. For example, in matters involving heavy vehicles, a load may have been improperly secured, brakes may have been poorly adjusted, or the speed at which a bend was taken may have been excessive for the conditions. In such cases, it requires specialised knowledge to determine the cause of an incident and to apportion blame.

By getting an expert witness involved early in the proceedings it may be possible to avoid a court appearance, or to at least reduce the number of issues in contention.

Advantia’s expert reports have often helped the parties to circumvent court proceedings or provided much-needed clarity to the judge.

How does one use an expert witness?

An expert is engaged by the solicitor acting for one of the parties. The solicitor briefs the expert in writing and asks for his/her written opinion on a series of contentious issues. The expert’s report may be disclosed to the other party, in which case it becomes evidence.

If each party engages its own expert, each expert may be asked to give an opinion on the other expert’s report. The experts may even be asked to meet and decide on which points are mutually agreed and which remain in dispute. If the matter proceeds to court, each party’s barrister may choose to cross-examine the other party’s expert. In some cases the judge may find it helpful to directly question both experts simultaneously.

If expert witnesses are knowledgeable and act with integrity, their involvement in the proceedings will be highly productive.

What are Advantia’s areas of expertise?

Advantia’s experts are degree-qualified engineers with expert witness experience in the following areas pertaining to heavy vehicles:

  • Rollover
  • Braking
  • Mechanical failure
  • Fire
  • Load restraint
  • Suspension design and function
  • Onboard electronic weighing systems
  • Patent infringement
  • Maintenance and servicing practices

 

For further information, please contact Advantia.