Who qualifies as an expert witness? |

Who qualifies as an expert witness?

Not all experts are created equally—and when it comes to expert witnesses, state and federalcourts have specific rules about who can be considered an expert witness.

In a federal court, the Federal Rules of Evidence deem that a qualified expert witness is someone who “is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or educationmay testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data; the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.”

In layman’s terms, the difference between an expert witness and a non-expert witness comes down to opinion. Expert witnesses are generally asked to give their expert or professional opinion on a situation. In contrast, non-expert witnesses can only testify about facts—what they directly saw or heard—not about their thoughts or opinions.

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