This is the fourth article in our series on the handling of trucking accident cases in Minnesota. Our last article discussed the importance of discovery in truck crash cases. It is important to understand that trials are not won with “surprise” evidence which is unveiled at trial. Instead, matters are won through the methodical building of evidence. Discovery is crucial to building such evidence and it is important that you retain a personal injury attorney familiar with the process. In this article we will discuss the need for expert witnesses in commercial trucking accident cases.* If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak with a Rochester lawyer. We also serve Owatonna and the southeast part of the state.
Minnesota’s rules of evidence require that experts testify to facts involving specialized knowledge or skill. Professionals may be called upon to offer opinions on issues involving liability, the need for future medical care, and the extent to which a victim can or cannot return to work. We will discuss each of these issues in turn.
Expert witnesses are necessary when it comes to establishing a trucking company’s liability. All employers are required to reasonably train and monitor their employees. Disputes do arise over what “reasonable” training and supervision entails. Experts in the trucking industry can offer testimony about their experience and insights as to how companies typically handle training and supervision – in other words, what is considered the norm. The plaintiff and the defendants are allowed to call their own expert witnesses and jurors decide which experts they consider the most credible.
Medical and vocational professionals also may be called upon to offer expert opinions. Their opinions may be required to prove that the crash caused the victim’s injuries and resulting medical bills, the extent to which the victim will require future medical care, the cost of such care, and whether the victim will be able to return to work, and if so, in what capacity. This type of testimony is directly relevant to the amount of damages a plaintiff is entitled to receive. As with industry experts, the defendants are entitled to, and usually do, call their own medical and vocational experts to dispute the testimony of the victim’s experts.
When retaining a Rochester injury attorney it is important you select someone with the resources necessary to hire experts. Hiring a firm without significant financial backing can result in your case not being handled properly. Our lawyers have recovered more than $100 million on behalf of our clients and we can deal with the largest of corporate defendants. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.
We also serve the following SE Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”