Part 7 – Structuring Your Outline for the Cross-Examination
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 meeting with your own safety expert to assist you in building your cross-examination. This week we discuss the importance of structuring your cross-examination.
There are as many ways to structure a cross-examination as there are lawyers; however, here is one way that we have found effective.
Start your cross-examination by hammering the expert’s bias. What you want to do is early on frame the expert’s role so that the jury buys into your narrative that this expert is a bought and paid for advocate.
Next, focus on all those areas where the expert’s foundation is shaky. What you want to do here is point out all of the pieces of information that the Plaintiff’s safety expert has either ignored or simply not been given by the Plaintiff’s attorneys. Your goal here is to paint the expert as uninformed at best and not credible at worst.
The next step is to attack the safety expert’s opinions. This is where your expert will be most helpful. Remember, from the section above, there need to be three points you want to make when you are going after the expert on his or her opinions. Don’t try to slay every dragon in the room.
Finally, end your cross-examination of this expert by having that expert help tell your narrative to the jury. Get this expert to concede every good point that you have going in your favor. This is where having met with your driver and having gotten to know your trucking company client will pay off. If there are good things that your trucking driver and trucking company did or are doing, get this expert to admit them. Even if the expert doesn’t admit them, the jury will have heard them. And if the expert won’t admit the obvious, then they have damaged their credibility in front of a jury – just what you wanted.