Written by: Lyle Charles Consulting
In the courtroom, there are two types of expert witnesses: educating and reporting witnesses.
Educating witnesses teach the jury or judge about the underlying scientific theory and also the instrument used to gain the evidence.
In the field of structural steel, the educating witness could be a steel fabrication expert. He would be called on to give testimony on business valuations, lost revenue and lost profit calculations. A steel fabrication expert, depending on their experience, could also talk on stacking of trade-association costs and extended overtime costs -depending on their management experience.
Regardless, the educating witness must be accredited as an expert witness. In some cases this would require academic qualifications or specific training. In the case of a structural steel fabrication expert, experience would be a very important facet.
Educating the jurors is a key part of a case. The goal is to teach the jurors enough about the case, and about the subject, so that they can understand the expert’s opinion.
Then, there are the reporting witnesses. These witnesses are called after the teaching witness leaves the stand.
Reporting witnesses will describe how a test was done and the results. The reporting witness also ensures that proper procedure is followed, and helps illustrate the process for a judge or jury in terms a layperson can understand. They would verify that the educational witness did his job right, or be able to speak with authority on what went wrong. They could also speak on circumstances, like downtime or inefficiency, explaining matters in greater detail and from a neutral perspective.
Bio: Lyle Charles is a consultant specializing in matters related to commercial construction projects.