This is the next post in our series on the handling of back and spine injury cases in Austin, Texas. Our last article discussed calculating damages after a back injury. It is important for a victim to understand that they will be entitled to the cost of future medical care as well as future lost wages. They are not limited to simply recover money already lost. Retaining a personal injury attorney experienced in these matters can help you to ensure you recover what you are entitled to. In this article we will discuss the role of experts in such matters. If you have been injured then contact us today to speak with a lawyer.
Expert witnesses are necessary in serious injury cases as the rules of evidence do not allow a lay person to testify in regards to complex matters. A medical expert, therefore, must be retained in order to obtain an opinion as to the amount of future care, and the possible number of surgeries, which a victim will need. The medical professional will reach their opinion by examining all of the victim’s records and performing an independent medical examination. They will then write a report which details their conclusions. The defendants will be allowed to use a “rebuttal” expert to dispute the conclusions of the Plaintiff’s professional. The rebuttal expert will also perform an independent medical examination and will issue their own report.
Vocational experts will also be necessary in serious injury cases. In matters where the victim is paralyzed, or suffering reduced mobility, it is important to determine whether the individual is able to return to work. If they are able to rejoin the workforce it is important to determine the types of labor they can perform. The vocational expert will look at the available medical evidence and will consider things such as the victim’s age, experience, work history, as well as other factors. A report will be issued stating the amount of money the victim would likely earn after the injury and that figure would be compared to what they would have earned if the injury had not occurred. Again, the defense will be allowed to utilize their own expert who will also issue a report. Quite, often the defendant’s expert will suggest far less compensation than will the Plaintiff’s expert.
At the end of a trial the jury will decide which experts are more credible and whose opinions are more likely believable. It is important to understand that the jurors do not have to follow the recommendations of an expert. If, for example, the vocational expert suggests that a victim has lost $1,000,000 worth of income then the jury is not required to award that amount. Quite often, jurors will award amounts somewhere in between what the Plaintiff is asking for and what the defense is claiming the Plaintiff should receive. It is crucial to your case that you retain an attorney who is experienced in dealing with experts and who is accustomed to arguing before a jury.
Our Austin back and spine injury lawyers have extensive experience in handling such matters. We understand that you are facing a serious situation and we will give your case the attention it deserves. Call our office today. We also service Travis County cities which include Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, the Williamson County cities of Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander, as well as other areas of Texas.