Articles Posted in Researching Experts

What areas may insurance expert witnesses consult on? They may write reports, give deposition and testify on insurance regulations, insurance fraud, reinsurance, and more. In Excess Of Loss Coverage For Self Insurers: Is It Insurance Or Reinsurance?, attorney, mediator, and insurance expert witness Robert M. Hall writes:

I. Introduction

Self-insurance entities often purchase excess of loss coverage from conventional insurers and reinsurers in order to meet the solvency standards of the self-insurers’ supervising authorities. Often it is unclear whether this capacity must take the form of excess insurance or may take the form of reinsurance. The companies that provide this coverage sometimes structure it as reinsurance in order to be free of market conduct and rate and form regulation as well as premium taxes, guaranty fund assessments and other charges involved in direct insurance. However, the manner in which the coverage is styled may not be determinative when problems arise. The purpose of this article is to present selected case law as to whether this insurance or reinsurance is treated in several different self-insurance contexts.

In Finding and Researching Experts and Their Testimony, authors Jim Robinson David Dilenschneider, Myles Levin, and Nathan Aaron Rosen write:

Several of us got into some discussions about the need to research experts thoroughly. During those discussions, we exchanged our knowledge of not only the resources to search but also effective strategies on how to use the information found. In the end, we realized that none of us was aware of a truly-comprehensive resource that detailed all the various ways to learn about experts. Accordingly, in the spring of 2007, we wrote the First Edition of this White Paper.

In February 2009, we updated the paper to highlight new resources that had emerged (as well as delete references to older, non-functioning sites), acknowledge new applications and strategies, and relate more failures to vet experts thoroughly.

Automobile air bag safety expert witnesses may consult and testify on automobile airbags, air bag deployment, and other automobile safety systems. In the news, BMW, Ford and Mitsubishi have provided lists of vehicles that are affected by the recent expansion of the Takata air bag recalls. While the vehicle identification numbers included in these recalls are not available on the National Highway Safety Administration’s VIN lookup tool or the manufacturer’s website as of yet, the NHTSA is continuing to provide updates. provides this information:

Consumer Information on Takata National Air Bag Recalls

What areas may insurance expert witnesses consult on? They may write reports and testify on the insurance industry, commercial insurance, insurance carriers, insurance policies, and more. In Experts – They May Know What To Do and How To Do It – But Do They Know How To Deliver? , Houston attorney Nyanza Moore writes:

In a time where expert reports are more the norm than the exception, it’s important to remember that a great expert report is only as good as the expert delivering it. Delivery here is being used in the sense of delivering a timely, well written report and verbally delivering a succinct explanation of the methodology used to reach the conclusions at a deposition.

Of course, every expert isn’t expected to be Johnny Cochran – with the flow of speech that leaves the trier of fact mesmerized. It is well known that public speaking ranks high on the top ten fears most people have. Preparing an expert for a deposition should be used getting them comfortable speaking about the methodologies so they avoid giving rambling answers that draw a Daubert motion to exclude the opinion. For the engineers, meteorologists, public adjusters, CPAs, and economists helping policyholders prove their claims, here is a refresher on what the attorneys, judges and juries are looking for when they read and hear your opinions:

In Cyberbullying, Trolling, and Cyberstalking: the Dark Side of Free Speech (part 1b), computer security expert witness Steve Burgess answers the question What is Free Speech?

Also not protected is harassment, the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. This could include discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual preference. It could include particularly aggressive bill collecting, or some forms of blackmail

Threatening to inflict great bodily harm (“I will stab you in the eyeball,” would qualify. “I will smack you in the kisser,” would not) or death would be illegal if the person has an apparent ability to carry out the action. Idle threats would not likely be found to be illegal.

Gasoline explosion expert witnesses may report and testify on fuel explosions, flammable materials, and tanker truck explosions. On March 26 in Huimanguillo, in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco, villagers tried to take gasoline from a tanker truck that had overturned late at night. Unfortunately, residents broke through a police perimeter and chased off firefighters in an attempt to take fuel. Eighteen people were killed in the explosion. Due to the flammability of the cargo, the possibility of survivors in the vicinity of a tanker truck accident is low. writes:

Tanker trucks are powerful vehicles that haul liquid or semi-liquid cargo in long metal containers. Examples of liquid cargo can include fuel, food products and chemicals. The cargo can often be dangerous. The liquids can be flammable, corrosive, poisonous or even explosive. Handling such cargo requires extensive safety training. Driving trucks with a heavy liquid load also requires a different touch than hauling dry goods like lumber or furniture.

In Undue Influence in Making Bequests: A Forensic Psychiatrist Examines the Evidence, undue influence expert witness Stephen M. Raffle, M.D., writes:

One of the inferences for the exertion of “undue” influence is if a close or isolative relationship existed between the testator and the proponent of the changed will or trust at the time changes are entered into. When the beneficiary/caregiver isolates the testator from his/her other natural heirs, there is an index of suspicion to the psychiatrist for undue influence.

Another circumstantial fact may be a financial relationship between the “favored” beneficiary and the testator. For example, the favored beneficiary has check-writing authority and is otherwise being empowered to take over the financial affairs of the testator. Yet other example may be the receipt of a joint tenancy interest in real property even though the property was paid for entirely by the testator, or being employed by the testator’s business (or promoted if already an employee) up to and including being made an officer of the company.

In Cyberbullying, Trolling, and Cyberstalking: the Dark Side of Free Speech (part 1a), computer security expert witness Steve Burgess answers the question What is Free Speech?

To listen to, read, or watch the news, it is clear that there is broad misunderstanding about the right to free speech. It is not the freedom to say anything to anyone anywhere, but rather a prohibition to keep the government from denying us the right to express ourselves. The Bill of Rights asserts that we have certain freedoms simply by dint of being born human beings.

We treasure our freedoms and freedom of expression or speech is one of the most sacred. Having this right allows us to speak truth to power and to satirize fools. In fact, one of the earliest forms of protected speech may have been the Celtic bards who worked for tribal kings, satirizing poor (or opposing) rulers, but immune from retribution under Brehon law many hundreds of years ago, or even thousands of years under European Celtic tradition.

Immigration expert witnesses may consult on issues involving employment based immigration, green cards, immigration policy, and asylum.The Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) presented Anthropologists as Expert Witnesses: Theory, Practice and Ethics at their annual meeting March 24-28. University of Cincinnati assistant professor of anthropology Leila Rodriguez has testified in immigration cases and writes:

I think the legal system’s understanding of culture is very different from how anthropologists define culture,” explains Rodriguez. The legal system often is looking for something with clear limits around it – the black-and-white answer – when most of our answers as anthropologists are gray.

Recorded sessions will be published at a rate of a couple a week, starting about two weeks after the annual meeting. Sign up to be notified via RSS or email.

In Testamentary Capacity to Execute a Will and Mental Competency to Execute a Trust or Contract, forensic psychiatry expert witness Stephen M. Raffle, M.D., writes:

A Will is not a contract because it does not represent a promise to perform a service or execute an action for another person (including corporations). It is solely an allocation of a person’s wealth on death. A contract, such as a Trust, implies the potential for an adversarial relationship if one of the parties does not perform as promised. In a Trust the parties may be the Trustors and the Trustees. Therefore, an adversarial relationship potentially exists between the parties. Because of this potential adversarial relationship, each of the parties must be able to understand the consequences of their actions vis-à-vis being in default. This requires each party to be able to understand with meaning (mental competency) the terms and conditions of the contract which may themselves be complex and require multiple steps. For this reason the mental state required to enter into a contract requires an understanding of consequences and an ability to understand complex meanings contained within the contracted obligation, neither of which is explicit or implied in the execution of a Will.

Mental competence to enter into a contract has a higher threshold than mental competence to execute a Will. It is therefore possible for a person to retain testamentary capacity but not be competent to execute a Trust.