Posted on

ENGINEERING EXPERT WITNESS – Do you have what it takes?


“Learn if you have what it takes to be a success as an engineering expert witness”.                   

By John D. Gaskell P.E. , Retired Consulting and Forensic Engineer

                                        Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

Creator of the OnLine Course: “Forensic Engineering

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If you have what it takes, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.


An Engineering Expert Witnesses provides comprehensive engineering analyses in their field of expertise and serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.


You don’t need to be an engineer to be an expert witness, but you do need to be experienced with credentials in your field. To be an “expert witness,” you don’t need to be an engineer, but you do need experience and credentials in your field. To be an “engineering expert, you will usually need an engineering degree and a license as a Professional Engineer. In addition, being a member of NAFE is a big help in being selected and in assuring acceptance as an expert in court.

It is also important to have knowledge and qualifications in the engineering specialty involved in the particular case at hand. For example, if the issue is lighting or illumination, experience in lighting design and membership in the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) would be helpful. It’s best to stick to your general area of expertise. If you are an electrical engineer, for instance, don’t take on a civil engineering case.

In addition, you should possess the following general traits:

Speaking/teaching ability. In court you need to speak clearly, using proper English and making your statements and replies concise and easy to understand. You will be teaching the judge and jury your opinion of the case and it is your job to convince them that you are correct.

Writing skills. Written reports need to be clear and professional. Don’t put anything in writing until your attorney-client requests it, and be sure you can defend every word under cross-examination.

Willingness to prepare. You are being paid to study the case and the technical issues involved. This can often be tedious, but it is the key to success. When preparing for court or deposition, it is crucial that you prepare for all possible questions and memorize much of the information.

Reading skills. In most cases you will receive a box full of documents to review. These may include: (1) affidavits (written declaration of facts sworn to);  (2) complaint (plaintiff’s initial pleadings); (3) depositions (oral testimony taken by the opposing attorney in advance of trial); (4) indictments (written accusation presented by a grand jury); (5) interrogatories (written questions sent to the opposing side and written answers submitted under oath); (6) petitions (written applications to the court requesting judicial action); (7) pleadings (written statements of contentions of the parties in the suit); (8) subpoenas (written orders for witnesses to appear); (8) summons (writ directing an officer to notify a defendant to appear in court); and (9) transcripts (official record of proceedings in a trial, deposition, or hearing).

It is part of your job to read all of these documents and to cull the information pertinent to your involvement in the case. This can mean many hours of reading even though many of these documents have no bearing on your portion of the case.

John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer

Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

My name is Jack Gaskell. I operated Gaskell Associates Consulting Engineers for over 35 years and we became the largest electrical engineering firms in Rhode Island. One of my most interesting and profitable undertakings was to add “Expert Witness/Forensic Engineering” to my practice.

To share my experience, I have prepared an On-Line Course and I would like to invite you to experience a FREE SAMPLE LESSON.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If you have what it takes, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

To experience a free sample lesson, click here Forensic Engineering

Visit: for additional tips.