Who Can Be a Forensic Expert?

Richard M. Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E.


Many professionals, including engineers, are interested to know what it takes to be an expert witness and who can be one.

Experts in the legal system play a very important role. The experts usually are involved in all processes of legal proceedings. They are indispensable, since their task is to explain to the judge or jurors what happened, how it happened, and how it could have been avoided, using comprehensive scientific methods understandable to the court.

Experts represent very different fields and branches of science: fire and explosions, chemistry, mechanical engineering, motor vehicle reconstruction, biomechanics, structural and civil engineering, planes, vehicle and vessel design and performance, sociology, skiing industry, water recreation industry, and many more. They must carry out the analysis of motor vehicle accidents, industrial accidents, and construction accidents.

They also handle accidents happening on the water and in the air and accidents associated with fire, explosions, electric shock, and many others. Both sides of the litigation—the plaintiff/ prosecution and the defendant—hire expert witnesses to provide their professional opinions.

Published By


P.E. Magazine, Published by the National Society of Professional Engineers, October 2014
2014