Expert witnesses fill an important role in modern American jurisprudence because they represent a significant and necessary exception to the regular rules of testimony, which limits witnesses to discussing what they personally experienced in relationship to the case. Experts are allowed to draw conclusions based on their knowledge and experience, drawing from best practices in the field to explain how conclusions about the evidence are reached or to discuss nuanced topics at the core of the case.
Decoding Specialized Topics
Often in civil suits and criminal cases, the core conflict is a matter of business or culture that is specific to the people involved and not necessarily understood widely by the public. In those cases, an expert witness with the knowledge to make those concepts understood in lay terms may be essential to the jury being able to understand the case your side is making. When that is the issue, attorneys will often book in expert witnesses just to discuss those matters. In the case of an expert witness finance, this can include processes for bookkeeping, experts capable of explaining exactly why a certain action constituted fraud or embezzlement, or for other, similar topics that jurors might find esoteric.
Analyzing Evidence and Explaining Conclusions
Another reason to bring in experts is to refute the conclusions reached by other experts by providing alternative analyses of the evidence and weighing the relative likelihood of each conclusion. This is especially effective in criminal cases where reasonable doubt is all that is needed of an alternative theory. In civil cases, this can be used by the defense to refute the plaintiffs or by the plaintiffs to construct a positive case around their claim. Either way, it is necessary in many cases involving financial disputes due to the complex nature of the law in this area and the tendency of the industry toward ever more complex products and deals.