Expert testimony is a critical portion of New Hampshire product liability cases. An expert witness is a person who possesses education, training, and skills in a particular field relevant to the case or specific issue at hand. Based on their credentials, these individuals can provide testimony to support a plaintiff’s contention of negligence and the appropriate damages. The most common types of experts are medical and technical professionals such as physicians, forensic analysts, scientists, engineers, mental health professionals, and economic professionals.
Both federal and New Hampshire state civil rules of procedure follow the Daubert standard to determine the admissibility of an expert witness’s testimony. The Daubert standard consists of five factors that the court will use to determine whether an expert’s methodology is valid. The standards include:
- If the technique or theory has been tested;
- Whether it has been subject to publication and peer-review;
- The known potential error rate of the technique or method;
- The control standards used in its operation; and
- Whether it is widely accepted in the relevant professional community.
A party may contest an expert witness’s testimony based on the professional’s qualifications, methods, or relied upon science. The party seeking to admit the testimony must prove by the preponderance of the evidence that the expert possesses the appropriate expertise. A judge will then determine whether the expert meets the relevant standards.
For instance, an appeals court issued an opinion in an appeal involving whether an expert possessed the relevant qualifications. The plaintiff suffered injuries when a loader he purchased tipped over. The victim filed a strict liability claim against the loader’s manufacturer, arguing that the loader was unreasonably dangerous. The plaintiff presented an expert witness that testified to the dangerousness of the vehicle. The manufacturer argued that the expert’s testimony did not meet the Daubert standard. The appeals court reasoned that a court finding that an expert possesses the appropriate qualifications does not automatically mean that the testimony has a sufficient basis for admissibility. Courts maintain the discretion to find that an expert’s testimony is unreliable.
Findings such as the one above can lead to adverse consequences for accident victims, and even the dismissal of their claim. Attorneys can help clients determine the appropriate expert witness in a case and evaluate the likelihood of an expert surviving a Daubert challenge.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of an Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in any type of accident, contact the attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates to discuss your rights and remedies. Our New Hampshire accident attorneys have extensive experience handling the complex statutory and procedural rules that these cases entail. We understand the importance of keeping up-to-date on all relevant legal changes to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. We have successfully represented clients in various cases, including New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents, product liability, premises liability, and wrongful death claims. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney at our law firm.