I know that a good attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of their case. There’s volumes of information and data that needs to be absorbed and analyzed before going to court!
You my attorney reader, use intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, and in a fair and calm manner, formulate and ask clear questions to elicit precise information. This requires patience and self-control, especially when you’re working on the spot! Job well done!
I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a workers’ compensation deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present. Recently, I’ve also testified in divorce court proceedings, personal injury and medical malpractice cases. For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire and I’ll be happy to provide it to you.
From my side of the stand, I better be familiar with rough courtroom conditions!
I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality (I’m too nice, huh? hahaha!!) by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but I learn even more from recent successes.
I remember my first court appearance many moons ago. I was the primary job placement specialist on a case when the opposing attorney stabbed my body language in an erroneous and made up way. Because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that well.
I have no idea what the old fart was trying to do, but the judge didn’t care for it either!
I remember another court case (this was in Council Bluffs) that involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure was applied! I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.
Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed at that time. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts on that case. I suppose decisions and transcripts could help me to some degree, but I don’t ever have direct access to them plus to me it’s likely they are not pertinent to any future case other than learning from miscue or miscommunication errors.
My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.
To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and pay close to attention to what I want to say about 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances most likely at the meat of the matter, commonly being extent of loss of earnings. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine. The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will eat away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.
I really am pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man! Wanna play?
I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics along with the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.
I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results and focus on the positive nature of change, motivation, and choice.
I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I match people within their own world of work which takes time, attention and a great appreciation for the jobs people do everyday.
Need help with your litigated case involving work and disability? Let me know what you see as the most important aspects of the case and I’ll let you know if I believe I’m the right person to help you help your client. I’ll view my interests, do a conflict of interest check and consider whether or not the case is in my area of expertise. And keep in mind I work on both sides of the fence! Need an expert? Contact me and thank you for reading.
My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.