Mass tort lawsuits, including those involving hair straighteners, are complicated matters. Often there is a critical question of whether negligence on the defendant’s part actually caused injury to the victim. Establishing the causal link between the two generally requires expert witness testimony. Experts are also needed to explain the nature of the victim’s damages.
Meanwhile, the lawyer’s role is to develop the testimony, with evidence, to present a compelling claim for compensation. Rueb Stoller Daniel takes a look at how courts and juries evaluate expert witness testimony in hair relaxer lawsuits.
Who Are Expert Witnesses and What Do They Do?
The first question you may have is who are expert witnesses?
Consider, first, the other kind of witnesses: lay witnesses. These are everyday people who testify as to key facts about a mass tort lawsuit. These facts may include the who, what, when, where, why, and how. A lay witness can be almost anyone who is competent to testify as to information perceived or personally known. The victim of a hair straightener lawsuit can serve as a lay witness in her own case.
Expert witnesses, as the phrase implies, includes persons with more specialized, technical knowledge. These are experts in certain fields who can interpret facts or explain complex subjects to juries.
Who Might Be an Expert Witness in a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?
With respect to hair straightener products, your lawyer may call on several types of expert witnesses, including the following.
These experts discuss the science behind hair relaxer products and what makes them hazardous to health. An expert witness can explain what chemicals are in the products and even how they could have been made safer.
There is a great deal of overlap between scientific and medical expert witnesses. Medical experts discuss the specific health consequences caused by hair straighteners. They can also explain the nature of the treatments (including future ones) that victims need.
A vocational expert witness can discuss the impact of your medical condition on your ability to earn a living. Can you return to your previous line of work? If so, at what capacity? In light of your physical or mental limitations, what sort of career prospects might you have? These and related topics can be explored.
Evaluating the Expert Witness Testimony
Not everyone can serve as an expert witness. A person wishing to be one must first convince the judge of his or her qualifications. This essentially means vetting the witness to learn his or her background, knowledge, and experience with the particular topic. The judge wants to make sure the expert really is an expert and will provide accurate information to a jury.
The defendant’s lawyers will probably challenge the expert witness’s qualifications. This is all a standard part of the overall process of ensuring the expert can reliably testify. The court will use something called the Daubert Standard to aid in this process.
What Is the Daubert Standard?
A prospective expert witness must pass a two-part test before being approved to offer expert testimony. This is known as the Daubert Standard. The first part is ensuring the witness is reliable. A judge won’t allow an expert to testify unless the testimony will be based on credible science or other specialized knowledge.
The second part addresses relevancy. Is the expert witness testimony to be given relevant to the hair straightener lawsuit? Without certainty of this, the expert cannot pass the Daubert Standard.
We’re Ready to Develop Expert Witness Testimony in Your Favor
Our firm has a reliable network of expert witnesses who can offer the above and other types of testimony. We know the laws, the rules of evidence, and what it takes to make a strong case. And that includes taking the vital steps of developing expert witness testimony that can convince a jury.
Were you injured by a hair straightener product? Connect with Rueb Stoller Daniel’s mass tort legal team today. We can review your case, explain how a mass tort lawsuit works, and examine your legal options.