Standard Article

The Toxicologist as Expert Witness

Specialisation

  1. Ira S. Richards PhD, FACFE,
  2. Marie M. Bourgeois MPH

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat113

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Richards, I. S. and Bourgeois, M. M. 2009. The Toxicologist as Expert Witness. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. University of South Florida, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, Tampa, Florida, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

Abstract

The Toxicologist as Expert Witness is a primer for toxicologists new to expert testimony and consulting. An expert toxicologist may serve in a variety of civil, criminal and regulatory capacities. The author discusses the academic credentials and personality traits that make an effective witness. The toxicologist must be familiar with legal and scientific concepts such as burden of proof, causality and risk. An expert may be retained to serve a variety of disparate functions, everything from consultation to research and investigation. Experts must be capable of explaining complex scientific issues in everyday language. Advice for effective communication during deposition and testimony is included. The witness must be prepared to have their professional judgement, academic history, publications and previous testimony scrutinized by opposing counsel and the experts that they have retained. The spectrum of legal proceedings, from deposition to trial, is described in detail so that even a novice will be completely prepared for the often adversarial legal process. Finally, the chapter addresses practical concerns such as fee structures, professional reputation, ethical obligations and marketing.

Keywords:

  • expert;
  • testimony;
  • burden of proof;
  • causality;
  • toxic tort;
  • admissibility test;
  • litigation;
  • forensics