Part 5 – Read and Dissect the Plaintiff’s Safety Expert’s Report
In this 8-part blog series, we will explore tips for preparing an effective cross-examination of trucking safety experts.
Last week, we discussed the importance of having a plan and knowing what you are looking for. This week we discuss the importance of familiarizing yourself with the report or other sources of the expert’s opinions in your case.
When you finally sit down with the Plaintiff’s expert’s report, you need to read it and dissect it. Read it numerous times. Every time you do so, you will pick up a new nuance.
We suggest taking the Plaintiff’s expert’s report and dividing it into three buckets: (1) areas that you can’t refute; (2) areas where the expert did not have all the information; and (3) those areas where you are going to make some real headway.
Regarding the first bucket, if you cannot refute or make headway with the point in an expert’s report, don’t spend time on it. That’s not a hill that you want to die on during trial.
For those instances in the expert’s report where she was not given all the information, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to get the expert to agree with you that they simply didn’t know all the facts. If the Plaintiff’s attorney has failed to share key information with that expert, you need to capitalize on it. Most experts, when they realize that they are out on the end of this limb, will gladly throw the Plaintiff’s attorney under the bus. Let the expert do that. Give them the opportunity to throw shade at the Plaintiff’s attorney for not giving them all of the information that they needed.
Finally, you will want to spend most of your time crafting your cross-examination of this expert by focusing on those areas where you are going to make some real headway. For instance, look for prior admissions from the expert that go against what she is saying in your case. Look for instances where the expert simply got the facts wrong and, therefore, made the wrong assumptions.