Ethical Issues for an Expert Witness

EthicsMost of us understand wrong from right. At least, we know standard societal norms, and that punishments exist for doing things that are wrong. Punishments for unethical conduct as an expert witness can contain jail time or fines. Less severe ethical breaches can lead to inadmissible testimony, the loss of your reputation, and the loss of future jobs.

If the side that selected you represents the proverbial ‘bad guy,’ then your work may help the wrong side, at least from an ethical or moral perspective. You may feel better about helping the right side, but your investigations and analysis should remain the same regardless of the side you represent. Your goal is to determine the pluses and minuses that you find out from your tests or research and inform your retaining attorney. Your investigations and analysis should help guide the attorneys who selected you toward better legal decisions. Let them decide the best way to use your findings.

Frequently, you will not know whose side in a case has more merit until you’ve reviewed the documents and can come to firm opinions about what has happened. sometimes, you’ll discover that defendants have lied to their attorney.

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