Have you been declared an expert witness of a criminal trial? If so, you are in for an experience of a lifetime. Expert witnesses have a big responsibility, telling their story to a judge and jury. There are many things that can occur when someone witnesses an event that ends up in court. One of the most common risks of an expert witness is personal threats. This is especially true for expert witnesses who are testifying against a defendant. Your testimony could be the difference between being freed and sent to prison.
Most defense attorneys would gladly pay a witness to tell their story if it meant sparing their client from jail or prison. The same thing goes for prosecuting attorneys who are trying to get a conviction without any luck.
Many expert witnesses are put through a series of questions that may be asked by the prosecuting and defense attorneys. If the witness is not fully prepared, the testimony will not have the same powerful effect as that of a prepared expert witness. In fact, you could easily call an unprepared witness an amateur instead of an expert.
Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) For Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses are professionals with special training, experience, and education. These professionals are utilized in both criminal and civil trials to help judges and jurors determine the outcome. For example, a scientist testifies in a criminal trial as an expert witness, offering an unbiased opinion regarding forensic testing. The scientists thoroughly explained how the test was performed, how it worked, and its effectiveness.
Expert witnesses try to convince the jury and/or judge that forensic testing is legitimate through experience and education. Most expert witnesses will testify in court on behalf of the prosecuting team or defense team. However, some expert witnesses have testified on behalf of a defendant and prosecutor.
There are many risks involved in being an expert witness. These risks include reputational harm, loss of employment, death threats, and other personal loss.
Being prepared to testify in court as an expert witness is a solution to a successful testimony. However, being prepared is not always a defense against all the risks associated with being an expert witness, especially when the case is high-profile.
Committing a negligent act as an eye witness is sometimes unavoidable. Even a small negligent act can lead to devastation for the prosecution or defense, depending on the supporting party. A negligent act by an expert witness could be an unforeseen fallacy. The expert witness is caught off guard by a defense question but continues to answer the question without having expert knowledge of the topic.
Whether the negligent act was intentional or unintentional is unclear. What is clear, the expert witness’s testimony harmed the prosecution team in more ways than one. This could happen to any expert witness, which is where PLI comes into play.
PLI kicks in when a negligence claim is determined to be valid after a thorough investigation by the insurer. When the claim is determined to be legitimate, the PLI will kick in and cover most or all of the court judgment. The remainder is covered by the expert witness who has to pay out of pocket.
Other Liability Insurance Policies For Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses should not stop at a PLI policy because it has its limitations. PLI policies only cover financial loss associated with negligence claims and lawsuits. Anything else becomes the expert witness’s responsibility.
As an expert witness, you should be well aware of how criminal and noncriminal court proceedings take place. You should also know the risks of being an expert witness. A small mishap could result in the loss of clients, employees, physical damage, and financial damage.
- Employer liability Insurance – Recommended only for expert witnesses with employees. The policy covers third-party bodily injury and property damage related to workplace injuries. As an employer, you are responsible for your employees’ well-being in the workplace. As you should already know, a mishap, such as a chemical exposure could result in bodily injury and property damage, which is covered under this policy. The policy does not cover workplace injuries and illnesses covered under worker’s compensation policies.
- General Liability Insurance – Covers bodily injury and property damage of third-parties. It also protects against harms related to advertising mishaps. For example, your company runs an advertisement that ridicules a competitor. Once the advertisement went public, the damage had already been done. While the business owner believed the advertisement was harmless, it was far from it. GLI is highly recommended to expert witnesses who are also business owners.
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance – All employers in Canada are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This policy was specifically designed to protect part- and full-time workers from damage caused by workplace injuries and illnesses. Most workplace injury and illness cases are covered under worker’s compensation. In Canada, this policy is a legal requirement for all active businesses.
ProfessionalsCoverage – Canada’s Liability Insurance Experts
While you are an expert witness, ProfessionalsCoverage is a liability insurance expert, connecting expert witnesses with qualified insurance agents. When you contact our office, you will be immediately paired with an experienced insurance agent who will help you with a customized liability policy, answer all of your insurance questions, and provide insurance tips when needed.
You can count on these experts to point you in the right direction to a liability policy that is guaranteed to offer full financial protection. A custom liability policy will be your best defense against negligence, workplace injury, and third-party property damage claims.
You biggest asset in life is your earning ability. If you are unable to work, you will need to rely on either your savings or borrow money to sustain your lifestyle. When these unfortunate circumstances occur, dependents and spouses are also impacted financially and emotionally.
Disability insurance coverage will provide you a monthly income benefit, usually totaling 70% to 80% of your income, when you are unable to work for a period of time due to injury or illness.
Types of disability insurance
- Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTD)
- Short-Term Disability Insurance
- Key Person Disability Insurance
- Self Employed Disability Insurance
- Mortgage Disability Insurance
- Temporary Disability Insurance
- Supplemental Disability Insurance
Need coverage in effect? Compare the market!
FAQ before purchasing liability insurance
- How much professional liability insurance do I need?
- How do I get a liability insurance policy?
- What does professional liability insurance cover?
- What is the difference between claims made & occurrence form of coverage?
- When will I need to be insured?
- What other professions need this type of insurance?
Other useful posts you should also read
- Canadian insurance companies that provide professional liability insurance
- How does the claims process work if I get sued because of my professional services?
- What is the cost of professional liability insurance?
- How do I apply for a professional liability insurance policy?
- How do I qualify for coverage as a professional service provider?
- What is the purpose of getting insured as a professional?
- How long will it take to get an insurance quote for my business?