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2.5-3 Expert Witnesses

Revised to January 1, 2008

We have had in this case the testimony of expert witnesses.  Expert witnesses, such as engineers or doctors, are people who, because of their training, education, and experience, have knowledge beyond that of the ordinary person.  Because of that expertise in whatever field they happen to be in, expert witnesses are allowed to give their opinions.  Ordinarily, a witness cannot give an opinion about anything, but rather is limited to testimony as to the facts in that witness's personal knowledge.  The experts in this case have given opinions.  However, the fact that these witnesses may qualify as experts does not mean that you have to accept their opinions. You can accept their opinions or reject them. 

In making your decision whether to believe an expert's opinion, you should consider the expert's education, training and experience in the particular field; the information available to the expert, including the facts the expert had and the documents or other physical evidence available to the expert; the expert's opportunity and ability to examine those things; the expert's ability to recollect the activity and facts that form the basis for the opinion; and the expert's ability to tell you accurately about the facts, activity and the basis for the opinion.

You should ask yourselves about the methods employed by the expert and the reliability of the result.  You should further consider whether the opinions stated by the expert have a rational and reasonable basis in the evidence.  Based on all of those things, together with your general observation and assessment of the witness, it is then up to you to decide whether or not to accept the opinion.  You may believe all, some or none of the testimony of an expert witness.  In other words, an expert's testimony is subject to your review like that of any other witness.


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