In When the Phone Rings … Twelve Questions for Prospective Expert Witness Assignments, insurance claims expert witness Kevin M. Quinley, CPCU, ARM, AIC writes:
Consultants and expert witnesses are more used to answering questions than asking them. When the phone rings, there may be an attorney or prospective client on the other end of the line. He or she poses questions to the consultant or expert, trying to gauge whether there is a good “fit” between the client’s needs and what the practitioner can offer in the way of experience and expertise. After answering prospective clients’ questions, effective consultants and expert witnesses may have some queries of their own. In fact, they should. Here are 12 questions that can form the basis of an effective fact-gathering process which unearths aspects of a case to help the consultant and expert witness gauge the degree of fit:
(3) Who is the opposing party? (Any conflict?) You can avoid wasting time if you find out up front that you have a conflict, or clear the decks for a possible retention by confirming that you don’t. As an example, I was recently approached about the possibility of serving as an expert witness concerning an insurance coverage dispute. The dispute was between a large medical device manufacturer and one of its excess insurers. I have never represented the medical company, but I do own shares of its stock. I disclosed this quickly to the inquiring attorneys. Neither they (nor I) feel it is a conflict, but I would rather have them make that call early on.
Kevin M. Quinley is a leading authority on insurance issues, including risk management, claims, bad faith, coverages and litigation management. He is the author of more than 600 articles and 10 books. You can reach him through http://www.insuranceexpertnetwork.com/.