BLOG NUMBER 8.25
Snow Removal Professionals are Often Best-Suited to Assist in Court as Expert Witnesses
Summer 2016 will soon transition to autumn, and that means winter weather is on the way. What kind of a winter will it be?
Some people rely on the prognostications of the Farmer’s Almanac, which is predicting a very harsh and cold 2016-2017 winter for large portions of the country. This may or may not be true, but experts in the snow-removal business know to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, every year.
Whatever the severity of the coming winter may be, when there is snow and ice on the ground people will slip, cars will slide, and all kinds of calamity will ensue. The sometimes-tragic side effect of winter’s cold is that people are often injured or killed in these accidents which leads to cases being brought to court if there is negligence involved.
Our courts are charged with finding the truth, and judges and juries are the eyes and ears that rely on the evidence and testimony of witnesses to make fair decisions. When a case is complex, as most are, the court will permit an “expert witness” to offer testimony as a means of clarifying and explaining concepts and issues the court may not fully understand.
What Kind of Issues May be Relevant in a Snow-Removal Court Case?
Each state has different statutes pertaining to a property owner’s responsibility for removing snow, ice or other hazardous conditions. Many businesses subscribe to an accident-avoidance strategy and have regular audits to avoid mishaps. Some questions that often come up at snow or ice related injury cases are:
- Did the property owner follow proper snow or ice removal procedures?
- Did the victim exercise reasonable care based on the conditions?
- Were there other factors that may have contributed to the accident?
There are an infinite number of questions that may come up during an accident-related court case, which is why choosing an experienced expert witness is prudent.
Who is an Expert Witness?
The dictionary defines an expert witness as “a person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case.”
How does someone gain knowledge? Albert Einstein said “The only source of knowledge is experience.” In order to gain proficiency it is logical that an individual have successful experience, at the top of one’s profession, to be truly respected as an expert witness.
Selecting an Expert Witness
Both sides in a court case want to explain their “side of the story” in the most effective way possible. A judge or member of a jury is most likely to accept testimony from an expert witness who can demonstrate proficiency and knowledge as well as offer testimony in a manner that is easy to understand. An effective expert witness should also possess credentials from any and all associations that serve to advance professional standards and education in his or her field. An expert witness must also possess a clean record with regard to integrity and honesty.
Jeremy Swenson is the founder of Snowmen, Inc. and has built his company into one of the largest snow removal contractors in the United States, and works as consultant for many large companies and commercial properties. He has offered expert testimony in depositions, hearings, and trials over several years and maintains a sterling reputation for his professional knowledge, acumen, demeanor, and ability to clearly articulate his professional assessments and conclusions.
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