About Forensic Consulting
What is a Forensic Consultant?
Forensic means “related to legal matters” as defined by Webster’s dictionary. A Forensic Consultant is simply a knowledgeable person who can provide helpful insight or other specialized information to support a Client’s potential litigation activity. A Client will hire a Forensic Consultant to help them understand certain design, operational or functional characteristics of an issue in dispute. If the Client does not need, nor want, the Consultant to provide formal testimony in a legal proceeding, then the Consultant is simply a “Forensic Consultant.” In that case, the information provided by the Forensic Consultant is generally unknown to any opposing counsel.
What is an Expert Witness?
According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, an Expert Witness is anyone who can assist the Trier-of-the-Facts (arbitrator, judge or jury) in under-standing an issue in dispute. Further, the ability to give that assistance can be derived from any specialized training, education, background or experience. If a Client desires to have a Forensic Consultant’s findings entered into the legal proceedings of a dispute, then the Client will “name” that Consultant as an “Expert Witness” for the case at hand. That “Expert Witness” can then provide formal testimony under oath, i.e., expert testimony, for the Client and can be deposed (questioned while under oath) by the opposing counsel.
How does an Expert Witness Differ from a Fact Witness?
In court, there are two types of witnesses, the “Expert Witness” and the “Fact Witness.” The “Expert Witness” is allowed to express professional opinions regarding the cause and relationship of events during the situation. The “Fact Witness” is allowed to testify only about known facts regarding the situation, e.g., what they saw, did, or heard.