You must’ve seen experts testifying for factual evidence in court, but did you know you could become an expert witness in your respective field? Here’s my list of expert witness jobs where you can choose one that fits your skillset.
Did you know you can share your expertise in your respective field to earn more than $300 per hour? Sounds astonishing, but whichever profession you belong to, you can register yourself as an expert witness and make some extra money.
But what is an expert witness? Simply enough, they are professionals who assess any given information, testimony, or evidence provided during legal proceedings according to their professional expertise.
Whether you’re a doctor, psychiatrist, or even a finance expert, you can easily get high-paying expert witness jobs. This article will explain the basics of expert witness jobs and some popular options for you to consider.
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What is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness is an accomplished professional in his respective field who uses his expertise to evaluate the information provided in court. He can either conduct this evaluation by citing exact facts from his expert knowledge or providing additional information that backs the discussion.
Mainly, courts hire professionals for expert witness jobs because they can provide an impartial, professional opinion according to their field, which others cannot. This helps the judiciary system resolve the dispute in a tribunal trial.
What Does It Take To Become an Expert Witness?
While testifying in court using prior knowledge sounds like a great idea to make some extra money, expert witness jobs have some requirements.
According to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, expert witnesses should pass four basic tests before qualifying for the job.
Firstly, they should be qualified experts in their respective fields. They will only accept an expert witness job application if the applicant provides legitimate proof of his academic accomplishments.
However, the candidate for expert witness jobs does not need to be the best in his field. Nevertheless, it is vital that his qualification and understanding of the subject should be higher than that of the jury.
Secondly, the testimony provided by the expert witness job applicants should be reliable and factual. The data provided by the witness should be unambiguous and adhere to the standard practices from his respective field.
Thirdly, the expert should provide valuable information that helps the jury conclude without further complicating the case.
For example, suppose an expert bases his testimony on his personal assumptions rather than facts and reasoning. The court will not use the information to resolve the dispute at hand, in this case.
Fourthly and most importantly, the expert witness’s facts should comply with the foundational facts agreed by other experts from the field.
Additionally, if you’re looking for expert witness jobs, you’ll have to prepare yourself for rigorous cross-examination, acquire excellent communication skills, work to meet deadlines, and prepare comprehensive reports.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Professional experts looking for expert witness jobs can choose from three types of job opportunities. The kind of job opening you choose will decide your remuneration, work hours, and primary duties.
Party-Appointed Expert Witness Jobs
As the name suggests, one of the two disputing parties hires these expert witnesses. However, according to the law, the expert witness does not have any obligation towards a party, even in this case.
He will provide a factual explanation based on his education to make it easier for the court to derive a proper judgment. Usually, parties hire an expert witness to establish their stance in court.
Single-Joint Expert Witness Jobs
In this case, both parties involved in the dispute hire an expert witness. The expert’s job is to provide an impartial factual response to settle the dispute.
As with party-appointed expert witnesses, these employees don’t need to their employers but rather to the court itself. They have to come up with an impartial statement that helps the court come to a legit conclusion.
Background Expert Adviser
A background expert adviser does not have to testify in court or create a comprehensive factual report regarding the case. Either of the two parties hires such advisers.
Their job is to advise their clients through their expertise to help them clarify their stance in court. These expert advisers do not come under the Federal Rules of Evidence and may produce facts that support their employers.
However, as they do not do their duty for the court, they will not have to appear or provide any evidence in court.
8 Expert Witness Jobs to Consider
Now that you have an idea about what is an expert witness when they are required and what types of jobs they take up, it’s time for my ultimate list.
Here are the eight high-paying expert witness jobs you can consider if you’re a professional in the field.
1. Medical Expert Witness Jobs
If you’re a doctor, nurse, therapist, or an expert in any other medical field, you can earn good money part-time by taking up expert witness jobs concerning your field.
The best part is, while other expert witnesses make around $300 per hour, medical experts can earn up to $500 for providing their services in high-profile cases. Recent research also shows that medical experts can earn around 120% more than other expert witnesses.
As far as the job is concerned, your work as a medical expert witness can range from identifying malpractice on a victim or provide insight on specific injuries.
Similarly, in compensation cases, medical experts must identify the extent of the injury inflicted, the treatment costs, and the long-term damage that can potentially occur through the abuse.
Besides that, in homicide cases, medical experts can differentiate legally between the terms ‘great bodily harm’ and ‘substantial bodily harm.’ This decision profoundly influences the concluding verdict or sentence which the court arrives to.
2. Mental Health Expert Witness Jobs
If you’re a psychiatrist or a therapist by profession, you can become an expert witness in many cases. You see, there are many situations in a courtroom where the jury needs to evaluate the victims, defendants, or witnesses’ mental health.
If you provide a thorough evaluation through your professional expertise, the court will come to a fair verdict, and you’ll get hourly compensation for your time.
Apart from the dramatic events where cold-blooded murderers plead insanity, you can use your expertise in other types of cases as well.
For example, suppose a man changes his will drastically and his family revolts against the decision. In that case, your opinion can help evaluate whether the man made the changes in an ideal mental state.
Furthermore, mental health experts help determine whether the mother or the father is mentally able to care for the children in custodial cases.
3. Forensic Expert Witness Jobs
Forensic experts are the most commonly employed expert witnesses in court proceedings. If you’re skilled and educated in the field, you can testify for various cases to make extra money.
Usually, forensic experts are stereotypically pictured in criminal cases. For example, testing DNA samples from a murder site or identifying substances from the victim’s or defendant’s clothes.
However, the forensic expert witness job description is not restricted to these tasks. Instead, forensic professionals are also required in civil cases to specify aspects like blood alcohol levels in driving offenses.
Besides that, if you excel at structural forensics, you can efficiently work for insurance trials.
You can use your expertise to determine how a fire started in a burnt house or whether the structure fell on its own accord. This information would help courts decide whether to provide a verdict in favor of insurance companies or the plaintiff.
4. Financial Expert Witness Jobs
You don’t necessarily have to be professional trained in science subjects to become an expert witness. Even if you’re an expert in commerce subjects such as finance, you can provide factual references in court and get paid by the hour.
You can help the court pinpoint the exact value of particular ambiguous objects to settle disputes. These objects can range from antique collections, property, family businesses, jewelry, and even art collections.
Besides that, financial experts like you can also help in divorce cases. Your opinion can help the court conduct a perfect asset division. If a single party hires you, you can help them identify any hidden assets or properties of their opponent.
Furthermore, your advice can help the court provide a verdict in the case of tax consequences and lost wages in the event of a clash between two enterprises.
5. Financial Securities Expert Witness Jobs
These jobs are more or less the same as financial expert witness jobs. If you’re a securities operative at a bank and are experienced in your career, you can use your expertise to assist courts in white-collar crime cases.
Let’s face it, most of our lawyers and judiciary members cannot find their way around a well-composed financial fraud. As an expert, can conduct thorough research and find out who was involved in financial malpractices.
Similarly, you can use your expertise to help with crimes conducted by well-known banks and financial institutions.
6. Child Psychology Expert Witness Jobs
In cases regarding divorce, child custody, and adoption, child psychology and parenting experts are required. These experts help figure out the emotional needs of the child in question. Using this information, the courts can provide a definitive verdict regarding the well-being of a child.
Some child psychology experts also work with the court by conducting thorough research and preparing reports for each case. They stay with the children and evaluate their activities in both households. This helps the court pick the best home for the children.
However, this role requires additional training, but it’s quite rewarding and pays well. So if you’re working as a child psychologist, you can quickly establish yourself as an expert witness and generate a full-time income.
7. Vocational Expert Witness Jobs
Vocational experts witnesses are usually required in corporate or home court.
If you’re an expert in this field, you can earn money by testifying whether a defendant is fit to take up a particular job or return to work after an accident or assault. This can help the court decide whether a defendant deserves paid leave from work or not.
Similarly, many HR experts in the vocational sector can provide their services in sexual harassment cases. They can define whether the said organization met the requirements to control sexual misconduct or not.
Apart from that, vocational expert witnesses can work for divorce cases as well. Here, their testimony can influence many decisions. Such as how long a spouse should receive alimony or if a spouse can provide for children if there are any.
8. Engineering Expert Witness Jobs
If you’re an engineering expert and have specific information about how certain products work and function in the long run, you can readily testify in court and earn money.
There are hundreds of liability cases registered every day where the jury needs proper evidence about the construction and manufacturing details.
This crucial expert information can help convict fraud manufacturers by identifying flaws in their products. Considering the victim is at fault without any functional defects in the development. Your expert opinion can help the enterprise save up on compensation charges.
That concludes my list of the expert witness jobs to consider. Apart from these options, there are many other professional advice positions available where experts can earn some side income.
The best part is, whether you’re doing the job for money or the professional satisfaction, it is substantially rewarding.
Imagine you succeed in putting even one guilty individual behind bars. Or, provide a reason to acquit a wrongly accused party. You’ll be happy that you used your expertise to make the world a better place.