Not every insurance claim requires expert involvement. However, when a dispute arises, identifying and retaining an expert can be invaluable, not only for final resolution but in keeping a claim open and alive. For example, in Vargas v. State Farm General Insurance Company,1 the Central District of California issued an order denying State Farm’s motion for summary judgment, relying on the well-reasoned and succinctly stated opinions of Plaintiff’s expert, Sandra Watts.
Continue Reading Expert Involvement in a Dispute Can Be Beneficial at Every Mile Marker of the Claim Resolution Marathon

A hybrid witness is a fact witness who also happens to have the requisite knowledge, skill, or expertise to provide opinion testimony and whose opinion is formed as a result of the witness’ involvement in the subject events.1
Continue Reading The Best of Both Worlds! Join me on Friday at 2 for a Brief Presentation on Hybrid Expert Witnesses

In the legal world, there are generally two types of witnesses that you will see: (1) fact witnesses and (2) expert witnesses. Well, technically there are three, if you count hybrid witnesses. These types of witnesses serve both factual and expert purposes.
Continue Reading Are Public Adjusters, Restoration Contractors and Other On Scene Experts Hybrid Expert Witnesses? What Rules Apply To Them?

Yesterday afternoon, Jean Niven was presenting an in-house Merlin Law Group continuing legal education seminar about expert witnesses and the exacting standards for their allowance to testify in federal court. During the presentation, I thought about how a lost insurance coverage case1 could have ended differently if the policyholder’s expert witnesses had been allowed to testify about the damages. Jean is our firm’s expert witness authority. She works with our clients’ expert witnesses to make sure they are able to testify.
Continue Reading Insurance Coverage Cases Can Be Won or Lost Based on Expert Witnesses and The Preparation of Their Reports and Testimony

In first-party property cases, it is common that an insured’s expert goes to a property after the loss to investigate. During the investigation, an expert may ask the insured questions that are necessary to formulate that expert’s opinions, such as the observable condition of the property before the insured’s loss, or which items have been visibly damaged. This is because, often, the expert has never been to the property and must formulate an opinion about the cause and/or extent of the damage following the loss.
Continue Reading Can Experts Rely on an Insured’s Statement in Formulating their Opinions?