Expert consultants are chosen for a myriad of reasons, some good and some not. Hopefully, the expert is selected because he or she has a proven track record, knows the subject matter, investigates in a thorough and responsible manner, testifies well at deposition and trial and isn’t afraid to give you bad news.
Unfortunately, sometimes an expert is chosen for other reasons, such as happening to be the “first guy on the scene,” or because they undercut all others on their hourly rates. Maybe the decision was made to hire a particular company with a national footprint. To be sure, it’s convenient to have a “known brand” and a single point of contact, particularly in an unfamiliar location. Many, of those consultants do good work, but it’s better practice to choose a consultant with more deliberation.
When an attorney has the chance to hire an expert for subrogation purposes, they usually hire the person, not their affiliated company. After all, jurors (and judges, mediators and even opposing counsel) will only be impressed by the strength of the opinion and the ability to articulate it. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
Insurance professionals unfamiliar with an area of expertise or geographic region should ask their subrogation attorney (local, if possible) for a reference. They should ask for someone that the attorney can vouch for, who they have worked with before, who testifies well and who knows how to handle evidence. Chances are that the attorney will refer someone they are comfortable working with if they eventually have to litigate the case.
Thanks to all who responded with stories about their expert consultants. It turns out that my blogging plan may have backfired a little. While I intended to share a couple of funny stories, it turns out that the specifics that made the stories enlightening and entertaining also made them very personal. I don’t intend to call anyone out here, but just to inform and hopefully entertain a little. So while the gory details would make for good reading, I’m staying mum for the time being.