Auto accident evidence usually consists of the drivers, passengers or other witnesses testifying as to what they perceived at the time of the motor vehicle collision. Also, documents such as medical records or reports may be admitted to help prove or disprove certain elements of a claim, negligence or damages. This is called direct evidence and the jury is free to weigh its credibility. It is not necessary that every fact be proved directly by a witness or an exhibit. A fact may be proved indirectly by circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence from which a jury may logically find other facts according to common knowledge and experience. Circumstantial evidence is not necessarily better or worse than direct evidence. Either type of evidence can prove a fact.
Usually, witnesses can testify only to facts they observed. But, a witness with expertise in a specialty may give an opinion in that calling specialty. In determining the weight to be given an opinion, the jury considers the qualifications and credibility of the expert and whether reasons for the opinion are based on facts in the case. Opinion evidence is admitted to assist they jury, but it is not bound by any expert’s opinion. The jury must weigh the different expert opinions against each other and consider the qualifications and credibility of the experts and the reasons and facts supporting their opinions. Some elements of a case, such as a permanent injury, may require expert opinion.
In addition, published expert articles may be admitted to assist the jury, but again it is not bound by the views expressed by the author. The author’s views should be considered as any other expert witness’ opinion.
An expert witness may assume certain facts and give an opinion based upon the assumed facts. This is called a hypothetical question. The jury considers the opinion in answer to the hypothetical only if it believes the assumed facts upon which it is based. If you find that the assumed facts in the hypothetical question have not been proved, do not give any weight to the opinion.
Ordinarily, a witness may testify only about facts. However, occasionally a non expert can give an opinion, but the jury should consider the witness’ opportunity to observe what happened and the extent to which the opinion is based on that observation. Opinion evidence was received to help you reach a conclusion. However, you are not bound by the opinion of any witness.
[nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-1″] attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best settlements or case results when there is strong direct evidence of an automobile accident case supported by expert opinions when necessary. Experts may include physicians, accident reconstruction engineers and vocational specialists.