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Expert witness

Areas of experience

  • Civil and Criminal Proceedings
  • Plaintiff and Defendant Work
  • Investigation and site assessments
  • Research to seek out the state of knowledge at the time

Industries

  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Health Care
  • Transport 

Hazard  topics:

  • Manual Handling
  • Safe Plant and Equipment
  • Physical Workspace Issues
  • Falls from Height, Slips, Trips on Level, etc

About Ergonomics Legal Expert Witness

Civil and Criminal Personal Injuries Expert Reports

Expert witness work is a great opportunity to look at a problem in detail.  The role is to provide an independent view on a safety problem.  The purpose is to assist a court understand about safety/ergonomics problems and solutions.

The expert’s role is not the same as a lawyer.  A lawyer speaks for their client.  A lawyer is advocate for their client.  The expert on the other hand is not an advocate for the engaging party.  The expert’s work helps the engaging party only by helping the court.  Of course, many legal disputes never reach court, the expert’s work therefore helps the engaging party understand the issues in advance.  This helps the engaging party understand their position.

The Federal Court of Australia has released some guidelines about expert witnesses.  They describe the duty of an expert as follows:

  • "An expert witness has an overriding duty to assist the Court on matters relevant to the expert’s area of expertise.
  • An expert witness is not an advocate for a party even when giving testimony that is necessarily evaluative rather than inferential.
  • An expert witness’s paramount duty is to the Court and not to the person retaining the expert."

A plaintiff (civil matter), prosecution (criminal matter) or defendant can engage the expert.  Plaintiffs, defendants and prosecution have engaged me to provide expert opinion.  The work sometimes involves site investigations.  However often considerable time has passed since the accident/injury occurred.  Often it is necessary to work only from a brief of witness statements, affidavits, photographs, medical reports, etc.  This information provides the facts of the matter.  The task I often find myself performing is then to research the problem to discover the state of knowledge at the time of the accident.  This means finding out what was known about the problem and ways to solve the problem at the time.  What is known now is not particularly relevant.

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