Unearthing Contradictory Testimony from Expert Witness


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It takes research, dedication and long hours to discover if an expert witness has provided contradictory testimony in a previous case or a connected claim to the current issue. Revealing these matters could disqualify an expert that has been hired to by the defendant or plaintiff, and it could lead to further scrutiny of the case which may lead to other discoveries.

When a lawyer has sought to hire an expert witness, it is crucial to discover if he or she has given contradictory testimony in a case before he or she has been hired. This is imperative so the lawyer is able to retain an expert and is not out all the time, money and other resources when the professional is disqualified due to these concerns. When testimony is found in contradiction to other sworn statements, the expert could have provided other negative services that may affect the case as well. Finding these issues beforehand will save the lawyer from disaster.

Some experts are not an asset to the case depending on certain factors. Usually these circumstances entail an inability to assist the plaintiff through reconstructing an incident or connecting liability to the defendant. However, some experts provide contradictory testimony when presenting evidence to the judge or jury. In one instance, the proof may suggest one course or action or determination. However, when testifying later or in a related case, these details may contradict or counter what has already been explained before. Sometimes, new evidence comes to light that may discredit the previous information, and other times the expert works a similar or the same claim and is unable to conclude with similar testimony or opinions.

Reasons for Contradictory Testimony

Sometimes, the expert may not have a clear understanding or knowledge of the literature involved in the case, has not examined the evidence enough or does not have the paperwork necessary for the issue at hand. Because of these reasons, it is possible that his or her testimony may be slightly incorrect or contain errors. Without careful review, it is possible to make mistakes. Some facts may contradict the processes used to come to a conclusion, and this may later alter what the expert explains in the courtroom for the immediate case. Then, a later presentation of the facts may show inconsistencies.

Other issues with an expert may occur when he or she fails to disclose certain facts about the processes, methods used, his or her credentials or his or her past. This could lead to additional issues in the future or could discredit or disqualify the expert before testimony is admissible. Inconsistent processes, methods for determining a connection with the evidence and a person and similar problems could end in a Daubert challenge that is lost. Contradicting testimony that was provided previously could also lead to a review of the expert which may remove him or her from future use.

Testimony Complications

Some experts provide more information than necessary during a deposition, and this could later show that testimony is in counter to this very data. When proceeding through the case, the professional may put his or her opinions in a report that is contradictory to what was said during the deposition. If the opposing counsel or judge remembers this well enough, the testimony is not in line with what has already been explained about the incident, scene, evidence or knowledge of the subject. This could lead to problems or disqualification as an expert in the courtroom.

Other experts may attempt to show off by arguing with the cross examiner. This may entail an attempt to explain yes or no answers or by not answering the question asked. The expert is then converted into an advocate and these actions often undermine credibility. In some instances, the professional may counter what he has said previously in the claim. In certain circumstances, the expert may argue with the cross examiner and take a position that is not consistent with testimony in a similar matter that was provided months, weeks or even days prior.

Inconsistent and Contradictory Testimony

When an expert witness has gone against his or her opinion provided in a previous case, has contradicted what has already been supplied or does not remain consistent in certain matters, his or her testimony may become inadmissible. Some experts may forget certain details. Others may forget they argued the opposite issue before. A few may contradict what is in their reports, and all of these situations lead to complications.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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