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The role of expert witnesses in construction disputes

| Nov 3, 2020 | Construction |

A well-known author once defined an expert as “An ordinary man away from home giving advice.” However, if you are involved in a construction dispute, a lot will ride on the expert you hire.

When a problem such as a construction defect occurs, there is often disagreement over whose fault it was or why it happened. The client may believe it is the builder’s fault, as that is who they paid for the job. The builder may feel it was due to circumstances outside their control, perhaps to do with the land underneath, previous work carried out, or a material defect.

Both sides may hire expert witnesses to evaluate the situation. Their role is to define the problem, discover what caused it and suggest how to remedy it. It is crucial to choose an expert in the appropriate area. The issues involved in construction disputes can often be highly technical so that you may need more than one. Someone who claims to know about everything is not an expert at all.

Once the expert witnesses present their findings, you and your attorney can negotiate with the opposing team. Having an objective opinion can reduce speculation, which may otherwise hamper negotiations. If this fails, you can proceed to court. The expert witness can explain the technical issues in terms that the judge or jury can understand, allowing them to make an informed decision.

Construction disputes can take time to investigate and resolve. Seek an experienced attorney to understand more about the process and likely time scale. They can help you find the right expert witness and resolve your dispute.

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