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Choosing an Elevator Expert Witness


By C. Stephen Carr, Ph.D.


When choosing an expert witness, everyone will agree that it is important to select the right one from the outset. 

From working in this field for a decade, I have learned which credentials are absolutely necessary to achieve results. They are:


1.    In depth knowledge of the equipment,


2.    Freedom from conflicts with the elevator industry, and


3.    Accident reconstruction, education and experience.



In depth knowledge of the equipment


Your expert starts as your consultant with guidance during discovery.  If he is just learning the engineering details of the gear, he cannot possibly help you in a timely fashion. And, working from “scientific principles” is simply insufficient. The more specific experience he has, the better.


It is not necessary to have ‘hands-on’ experience. The architect does not need to lay bricks to know what the brick layer does. In fact, too much hands-on experience with specific equipment can interfere with gaining a wider range of knowledge that is essential to get to the bottom of what caused the accident.



Freedom from conflicts with the elevator industry


The challenge for the plaintiff is to find a truly qualified expert who will work for the plaintiff as the elevator industry is a small, close-knit fraternity. Forget finding an expert with a history of 50/50 plaintiff /defense work. There are only 4 ½ elevator companies on the defense side and  they feed lots of work to the experts who regularly work for them. If an expert crosses the line to the plaintiff’s side, he will never work again for the industry which is his main source of income.



Accident reconstruction, education and experience


Finally, engineers designed the equipment and accidents result from equipment failure and so failure analysis skills are essential.   Many potential experts know how the equipment works when it works properly but are lost when it is alleged that it functioned improperly.   College degrees are but one measure of the essential engineering and science training, but be certain the potential expert can ‘do the math’ of accident reconstruction.



1-800-656-8876 ext. 701 *   c.stephen.carr.tlc@gmail.com