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How could expert testimony be used in a premises liability suit?

Residents in Pennsylvania often consider roadways a dangerous environment due to the risk of encountering a negligent driver and being involved in an automobile collision. However, many do not consider the dangers that exist off the roads such as a sidewalk, parking lot or the property of businesses and individuals. If an individual enters the property of another’s and is injured, the negligence of the property could be proven through evidence gathered at the scene. In some cases, an expert witness is used, but many victims question how this testimony is used and how a person is qualified as an expert witness.

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, a qualified expert is a person who has knowledge, skill, education, experience and training in a specialized field that relates to the civil action at hand. Each state has its own rules regarding the usage of experts, and Pennsylvania law holds that expert testimony is discoverable for the facts and opinions known and held by experts. Rule 4003.5 allows experts to be called as witnesses in a case or it allows for interrogatories of experts to be discoverable in these actions.

An expert must base his or her testimony on either sufficient facts or data that an expert in his or her position would rely upon in the field. The usage of an expert should be based on the need to help the jury understand issues related to the specialized knowledge of the expert.

The testimony of an expert is relied on in a variety of cases. With regards to premises liability, an expert could be used to show knowledge of a dangerous property, negligence in a slip and fall incident and help assign liability to a negligent property owner. The knowledge and opinions of experts could help victims in a civil action, especially if they suffered losses and damages due to injuries caused by the incident related to dangerous property.

Whether it is a slip and fall, a parking lot accident, faulty stairs or unmaintained property, a visitor to a dwelling or building could seriously be injured by the negligence of a property owner. It is important to understand the facts surrounding the incident, and victims should consider how an expert could be useful in their case, especially if they seek to assign liability and recover compensation.

Source: Findlaw.com, “Who Qualifies as an Expert Witness?,” assessed on Nov. 10, 2014

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