When is it Beneficial to Hire More than One Expert for a Case?

Just as an attorney might call upon an expert witness to provide specialized knowledge or to explain the minutiae of a field in layman’s terms, so too might they hire multiple expert witnesses to address multiple areas of expertise. Oftentimes, a case is multifaceted enough to require more than one expert witness’s testimony. For example, a medical malpractice case might easily require the expertise of persons in the insurance industry and the medical profession.

While there are a number of benefits to hiring multiple expert witnesses, it is important to remember that, the more people that are involved in a case, the more complex it may become. Thus, below we will address not only the benefits of calling upon more than one expert for a case, but some potential complications to this decision as well.

Benefits:

While there are a number of reasons why an attorney may want to limit the number of expert witnesses involved in a case, there are also numerous benefits. Calling upon multiple witnesses can help develop credibility, provide multiple testimonies, offer explanations in several different ways, and provide cumulative, clarifying evidence.

Developing Credibility

Sometimes, an expert witness makes a mistake and renders their remaining testimony seemingly not credible. Fortunately, if a second expert is on hand to reiterate their point, the first expert witness may regain some of their credibility. Furthermore, one of the reasons why an attorney may hire a multitude of medical experts is to provide a compounding testimony—testimonies that speak to and build upon one another in an aggregating manner. While such a tactic is against the rules of civil procedure, having two or more expert witnesses illuminate and expand upon one another’s testimony in a manner that is disciplinarily-focused is permitted and may help build a strong foundation for an attorney’s case.

Multiple Testimonies

In some cases, an expert witness’s testimony may get thrown out altogether. In such situations, it is often prudent to have an expert witness on reserve that can reiterate the points that have been dismissed. Additionally, multiple expert testimonies may bolster one another, defining a consistent narrative across fields that emphasizes an essential component in a case.

Detailed Explanations

It has been well documented that diverse groups of people understand and learn knowledge in different ways. Thus, while a jury or judge may be unable to follow one expert witness’s testimony, they may be convinced by testimony offered by a second expert witness. While attorneys will want to hire the best expert witnesses possible, even the best-trained and most seasoned expert witness is capable of making mistakes. It is therefore essential that, if the scientific aspects of a case are so complicated or detailed as to potentially confuse a court, a separate expert witness be on standby to clarify or otherwise expand upon previous testimony.

Cumulative Evidence

While cumulative testimony provides clear grounds for objection to and dismissal of testimony, it may be beneficial to have expert witnesses provide more in-depth and expansive testimony that addresses particular elements of a prior expert witness’s testimony. Oftentimes, elements of a testimony may prove either unclear or too limited. Studies have shown that the reiteration of points and arguments tends to convince persons simply based on its repetition. While an attorney will not want expert witnesses to express precisely the same points, they will want to work with expert witnesses to ensure that there is a stable narrative across the testimonies that they give.

Multiple experts get together and discuss the case

Complications:

Despite these benefits, an attorney will want to ensure that each expert witness is necessary to a case before hiring them. Calling upon a multitude of expert witnesses can lead to such issues as cumulative testimonies, inconsistent testimony, and potential difficulties if opposing counsel decides to take depositions. While these complications should not discourage attorneys from hiring necessary expert witnesses, it is essential to keep these intricacies in mind when moving forward with the hiring process.

Avoid Cumulative Testimony

When hiring expert witnesses, an attorney will want to make sure that their areas of expertise do not overlap. While it may be appealing to call upon multiple medical experts to attest to the cause of an injury, such a redundancy wastes the court’s time and will likely receive an objection from opposing counsel.  

Make Sure that the Testimonies Are Consistent

Because multiple expert witnesses will likely be approaching an attorney’s case from the perspective of their own differing fields, it is important to make sure that the overall narrative of the testimonies remains consistent. Each expert witness will require training and preparation in order to present an attorney’s case in the required manner. Thus, attorneys will want to rely on a specific number of excellent, skilled expert witnesses rather than a greater number of less skilled expert witnesses.

Depositions

It is also important to remember that some complications may arise in the case that lead opposing counsel to decide to take depositions. While an attorney utilizing multiple expert witnesses may decide against having one of them testify, opposing counsel is still permitted to use that person’s deposition. An attorney thus wants to be quite sure that they will utilize an expert witness before bringing them onto the team.

Communication

One more person involved in the case means another person with whom the attorney and others involved will need to communicate. While an attorney will always want to use great care when communicating with expert witnesses and allowing them to communicate with the client, vigilance is especially necessary in cases involving multiple expert witnesses.

Attorneys will want to make clear from the beginning the means by which and the topics about which the different parties can communicate. This may mean limiting expert witnesses’ direct communication with the client in order to avoid confusion or inconsistencies between the different experts’ approaches.

Hiring the Right Expert Witness

Finding expert witnesses who can work together well is the key to assisting attorneys with communication, consistency, and avoiding cumulative testimony to ensure a successful case. When you work with Litigation Legal Insight rest easy knowing we have helped hundreds of lawyers and insurance companies locate experts for their cases. Our team specializes in finding you the right expert for your case, coordinating with the expert around your schedule, and offering continued support until the conclusion of the case.