The Role of an Expert Witness in Large Construction Trials in Alabama

The existence of the expert witness is one which is created and perpetuated by the legal system. Accordingly, the Alabama Rules of Evidence are constructed to govern the qualifications and testimony of an expert witness in large construction trials in Alabama.

This ensures that any testimonies given to help the court and/or jury understand evidence, or to support a fact in issue secures fairness by eliminating any unjustifiable expenses and delays in court proceedings.

Four Functions of an Expert Witness

In cases concerning litigation, an expert witness in large construction trials in Alabama or elsewhere performs four primary functions. Underpinning these functions is a fundamental duty to apply knowledge in their own field of specialist expertise to effectively:

  • Help the arbiter of a construction trial to determine the truth behind disputed matters of fact and to do so objectively and independently, and
  • Communicate their professional opinion and the basis for their testimony in terms that are understandable to the jury.

Applying knowledge within the field generally requires the expert witness in large construction trials in Alabama to be deemed in possession of expertise, qualifications and experience. Ultimately, a witness is not recognized as an expert until so qualified by the court.

Voir Dire and the Process of Vetting an Expert Witness

The words “Voir Dire” come from the French language meaning “to speak the truth” and describe the process by which expert witnesses are vetted during a construction. This generally involved a series of careful questioning and cross-examinations.

As the proffered opinion of an expert’s testimony often affects the outcome of a trial, the proper execution voir dire should be of paramount importance when establishing an expert witness in large construction trials in Alabama as such.