SAMAC Articles

Introduction to Engineers and Experts

Many claims involve technical problems, whether it be vehicle accidents, building collapse, fires, injury causation, large industrial losses, or even a question as simple as “Is this witness statement possible?“. That’s when SAMAC engineers, or other technical specialists, may be called in to help establish what happened, how large the loss was, and who or what might have contributed to the loss.

Engineers, for litigation purposes, are part of the group of professionals that are categorized as ‘Experts’. An expert is someone that the Court believes knows more than the general public on a certain subject and can help the Court understand the technical issues. After hearing the expert evidence, a judge will weigh the information presented based on each expert’s apparent knowledge and analysis of the issues, their credibility, their educational background, their years of related experience (and whose experience is more related), etc. The testimony will then go to ‘weight’.

At the end of the day, what do you want? You’ll want someone who knows the issues, can discuss them easily and understandably, can work with you in determining the work to be done, is credible within both his industry and the insurance community, will be accepted by the Court, can meet your timing requirements and, lastly, meets your budget. SAMAC Engineers have the technical and litigation knowledge to prove dependable results you need.  For example, when the other side tells you his expert has a different answer, when you go to trial, or if you’ve got a limits problem.

In general you will find that it can be difficult for an expert to provide a strong opinion on an issue without knowing all of the background information. Based on our experience, when someone says an event couldn’t have happened, some piece of information, like a statement or photograph, will often show up indicating that it did!

Finally, be careful when asking an expert for a report.  He may assume you want a trial ready document which will end up costing a considerable sum.  SAMAC Engineers know the insurance industry and will confirm with you whether an email summary or a status letter with preliminary opinions would meet your needs.  Detailed analyses and reports can be prepared after you are certain you really need it.