How Much Does An Expert Witness Cost?
- The majority of expert witnesses will require a retainer fee up-front. The median initial retainer fee is $2,000.
- A median hourly fee for file review and preparation for non-medical witnesses is $245.
- For medical witnesses, the hourly fee for file review and preparation is $350.
- The median testimony hourly fee for non-medical witnesses is $275.
- For medical witnesses, that hourly fee is $500.
- An expert witness who testifies mostly for plaintiffs is significantly more likely to require an up-front retainer fee.
- Nearly half of all witnesses require a signed retention agreement before working on a case.
Legal Standards For Expert Witnesses
Today, there are no “hard and fast” rules regarding who can and cannot serve as an expert witness. Instead, judges and attorneys alike will rely on two significant court opinions when determining an individual’s qualifications as an expert witness. The ruling in the Frye vs. The United States case basically established the standard for an expert witness. An expert witness testimony must be widely accepted within the scientific community.
A separate case, Daubert vs. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. produced a newer standard for experts. The expert’s opinion was to be accepted as long as the individual used scientific methods, peer-reviewed methodology, all while having the expertise to support the opinions. Daubert empowered judges to determine the validity of any expert testimony.
What Services Can An Expert Witness Provide?
Here are a few duties performed by expert witnesses:
- Give independent expert opinions in their area of expertise in accordance to the instructions they are provided with.
- Provide opinion in the form of a report and/or evidence before the court.
- Comply with rules of the court or tribunal orders.
- Always remain independent and impartial during the process.
- Make sure the Expert’s Report that you are provided has the information required by court rules.
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