The Bureau of Labour Statistics received 2.7 million reports of workplace injuries in 2020. These injuries were non-fatal but could affect the victims for the rest of their lives. Compensation seeks to give balance.
To put your case before a court, you need to provide a witness. This can be a fact witness or an expert witness. But how do they differ?
Choosing a witness adds more stress to your situation. Understanding fact witness vs. expert witness testimony can be vital to your case.
We have a guide that will help clarify the differences. Read on to learn more about fact witness vs. expert witness evidence.
What Is a Fact Witness?
A fact witness has first-hand knowledge of a court case. They have seen, heard, or participated in the events that led to the trial.
A fact witness is constrained in the evidence they can present. Can a fact witness guide a case through opinion?
Under Rule 701 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, a fact witness can give opinions under specific circumstances.
These opinions must:
- Be rationally based on the witness’s perception
- Help the court understand the witness’s testimony
- Not be based on specialized or technical knowledge
Fact witnesses may be compensated for their services by the court or by statute. The amount is lower than for expert witnesses with special knowledge or training.
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness lacks first-hand knowledge of events. They use their expertise to verify case facts.
The Frye Test, Daubert Decision, Rule 702, and Rule 26 are vital to expert witness assessment. Can an expert witness guide a case through opinion?
Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence permits an expert witness to give an opinion as evidence. This must:
- Help the Trier of Fact via the use of the expert’s special knowledge
- Be based on facts or data
- Be based on credible principles or methods
- Show the expert has applied these principles and methods
Formal accreditation gives expert witnesses more power to testify than fact witnesses. An expert witness receives higher compensation than a fact witness in most cases.
Fact Witness vs. Expert Witness: Which Do You Need?
For first-hand witness evidence, a fact witness can give details of events that led to your case. Their opinions have constraints. Despite this, they can still determine the outcome of your case.
An expert witness can have a great impact on the outcome of your case. They can use their knowledge to verify or dispute facts. Employing a fact witness and an expert witness gives you the best chance of a favorable outcome.
Ready for Trial
We hope our fact witness vs. expert witness guide helped you understand their differences. A personal injury trial can be stressful. Knowing the types of witnesses you can present helps the case develop in your favor.
Ensure your expert witness has the authority to testify. Courts use the Frye Test, Daubert Decision, and the Federal Rules of Evidence to decide this. Gaining some knowledge will help you understand the legal process.
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