When the decision is made to either pursue an action through the court, or arbitration, or if you find yourself on the defense of an action, rarely is an expert part of the thought process. Many companies and individuals think they can act as their own industry expert since they have been involved in the industry for awhile. They also believe their company’s accountant, whether internal or external, knows the numbers so a damages expert is not needed. While there are exceptions, generally the party and their accountant cannot act as an expert especially since they are fact witnesses.
So when is the best time to retain an expert for your case? As early as possible, preferable before the pleadings are filed, or at least before discovery gets underway. Too often experts are retained after the close of paper discovery and after depositions so when they are finally retained and need certain information, it is too late to obtain the additional information. All that does is limit the effectiveness of your expert.
By retaining your experts early, you may also reduce the overall costs. The experts can assess the viability of positions which can shift the focus of the case or result in cases being settled at an early stage. If the case does proceed, the experts will be involved in what is needed during discovery so you can do everything possible to make certain your expert has what is needed. This will allow your expert to rely upon what is needed as opposed to using what was obtained and crafting a position around the information available. When experts have what they want and need, the costs are lower as they are using the very information they are comfortable using for rendering their opinions. You also have the benefit of spreading out the costs over the length of the litigation as opposed to incurring the full cost at the end of the case, and after spending all of the legal fees and out of pocket expenses for depositions.
Since statistics prove that the majority of cases settle before trial, you can enhance the likelihood of a settlement with the use of your expert to unbiasedly guide you through the pros and cons of your case. When your attorney works closely with your expert early on, legal theories are honed and potential damages are determined based on the legal theories. Not every case will settle but by having your attorney and expert working together from the beginning, you will increase the likelihood of an earlier amicable resolution of a case and with a better outcome since you will be more prepared than the other side.
The Weir Law Firm, LLC encourages clients to retain experts early in order to gain the best advantage for its clients. Our goal is always what is best for the client and in those cases where an expert is needed, sooner rather than later is exactly what should be done.