Do Expert Witnesses Get Paid Testify? Do Expert Witnesses Get Paid Testify?

Testimonies from expert witnesses have a considerable impact on the final decision of judges and juries. Expert witnesses typically have specialized skill sets that make their opinions valuable to validate the factual evidence of a lawsuit. Experts and other consultants often play essential roles in litigation. The more substantial or complex the matter, the more likely it is that one or more experts will be required for each side.

What are Witnesses?

The principal function of an expert witness is to express his or her independent expert opinion based on the facts that are provided. An expert can be employed in numerous different capacities. The witness gives sworn evidence or testimony. There are two types of witness:

  1. Witnesses of fact: These witnesses may provide evidence of fact but do not usually give opinions
  2. Expert witnesses: These witnesses may give evidence of facts and also provide opinion evidence within their specialized fields of expertise.

What are Expert Witnesses?

An expert witness may be anyone with the knowledge or experience in a particular field or discipline which is beyond what would be expected of a layperson. The expert witness has the duty to give the court or tribunal an impartial opinion on specific matters within his or her field of expertise which are in dispute.

An expert witness has a principal duty to the Court. This duty takes precedence over any obligation owed to you even though you are still may be responsible for paying the expert’s fees. The Court requires an expert witness to be both independent and impartial and will disregard the evidence of one who is partisan or is seen to be otherwise one-sided.

The role experts play will vary depending on the case. Sometimes an expert will serve as a consultant to the attorney and remain supporting role, without his or her name ever being known. In some instances, specific experts are used in the pre-trial stages.  At other times, the expert witness may serve solely at trial. Sometimes expert witnesses participate in a combination of these roles.

Do Expert Witnesses Get Paid to Testify?

Whether or not expert witnesses get paid to testify depends on certain factors. Experts are not typically paid for their testimony, but they are usually paid for their time. That includes the time they spend:

  • On the witness stand
  • Evaluating matters
  • Studying files
  • Reviewing the evidence
  • Meeting with lawyers
  • Coming to conclusions
  • Sitting around waiting to testify
  • Clearing their schedule to testify
  • Traveling to testify

As you can see, the time the expert spends on the witness stand is generally a small fraction of their total fee. Many experts will charge a minimum fee and won’t take on minor issues that could take more time and generate more mental anguish than income.

If you’d like to find out more about expert witnesses, whether you’ll need them for your case, and what they’ll cost, speak with a qualified and credentialed attorney in your local area. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your individual needs and concerns.