What Does an Expert Witness in Finance Do?
If your attorney has suggested an expert witness for your case, you might be wondering whether it’s a worthwhile investment. It’s true that experts do represent an additional expense when you’re litigating, but the additional information and analysis they provide is often pivotal for the jury’s understanding of a case. They do a lot more than just provide testimony at trial, too.
Understand Your Evidence More Completely
Experts start helping your case long before they take the stand. To provide competent testimony, they need to review and analyze evidence related to their areas of expertise.
For a finance expert witness, that can include banking records, transaction records, business receipts, and even the accounts ledger, among other documents.
- Identifying and locating hidden assets
- Understanding a chain of financial transactions in more detail
- Uncovering forensic evidence of theft or embezzlement
- Discovering falsified records or discrepancies in financial record-keeping
After working with the evidence and providing your legal team with an analysis that helps better document your side of the case, experts take that analysis and prepare to present it to the court. Unlike other types of witnesses, experts are granted license to draw conclusions from evidence within their areas of expertise instead of sticking to just what they witnessed personally.
Rebut Experts on the Other Side
If the opposition in a criminal or civil case retains an expert, your attorney is probably going to at least consider hiring an expert for your side. That’s because experts provide analysis and interpretation, but they do so within the scope of the evidence they are given. Part of their briefing process involves being exposed to the point of view biases of the side they work with, so even the most diligent experts sometimes draw inaccurate conclusions informed by their biases.
Employing your own expert to rebut findings that don’t fit the facts you have about the case and to provide alternative plausible narratives to conclusions that depend on circumstantial evidence is often the best way to establish reasonable doubt in a criminal proceeding. It can also tip the scales in a civil case, whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff.
Making a Decision About Expert Testimony
If your attorney suggests an expert witness, it’s probably a good idea to use one. Your lawyer is in the best position to make a clear choice about whether the evidence warrants it, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for the suggestion. If you know your case will involve complex financial evidence, then you can only benefit by being proactive about your needs and vocal during the expert selection process.