Expert witnesses are sometimes required in trials to assist a judge/jury reach a conclusion. In civil actions, section 490.065, RSMo, controls the admission and exclusion of expert testimony in Missouri —
if scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise
Following this statute, it is a trial court’s responsibility to determine whether (1) the expert is qualified; (2) the expert’s testimony will assist the judge or jury; (3) the expert’s testimony is based upon facts or data that are reasonably relied on by experts in the field; and (4) the facts or data on which the expert relies are otherwise reasonably available. Kivland v. Columbia Orthopaedic Grp., LLP, 332 S.W.3d 299, 311 (Mo. 2011).
Expert testimony is required in actions such as legal malpractice or medical malpractice because it is necessary for an individual to provide the judge/jury with the appropriate standard of care that has supposedly been breached. And while it may not be necessary in other cases, the use of an expert is still sometimes extremely helpful in persuading the judge/jury that your position is correct. One must carefully consider the cost, however, as experts can be quite expensive.
Contact us with questions relating to expert testimony, trials and other litigation matters.