Typically, when we are hired as a construction expert witness, we are given some preliminary documents and plan on a site visit. We are then able to “witness” many of the damaged properties (if the damage has not already been repaired) and start gathering data on what caused the damage, who the responsible parties are, and what are the estimated costs to repair the damage – in a simplified example – to find a resolution for all parties involved and move on.
There are other instances, however, where we are hired as a construction expert witness and expected to find a resolution with “nothing” to witness. It seems increasingly more often, large wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters are ravaging many areas, resulting in massive damage to life and property, leaving little to nothing behind over hundreds of thousands of acres. People have suffered catastrophic losses of most if not all personal possessions including property documentation. These clients are emotionally worn out and completely overwhelmed with starting over and finding a place of stability for their family with so many questions left unanswered. The experience is harrowing and painful to revisit and being asked to provide documentation or answer questions about this loss causes frustration and pours salt on yet to be healed open wounds.
Law firm administration do their best to gather as much info as possible for the expert witnesses to create their report. The problem is they know what information is needed to fully support their claim for damages but do not know exactly what is needed to satisfy the insurance company and this can add months to the process – only adding to the frustration and anxiety of firm staff and property owners. Here lies the bottleneck and the client’s frustration – being asked to relive the pain trying to gather information that is not needed. Multiply this by the potential hundreds of clients that you have signed to represent, and this can be very frustrating and nerve wracking for staff trying to deal with hyper emotional clients and finding that they are not moving through the process in the most efficient way – causing everyone involved only an increase in stress and anxiety.
When you have a qualified expert witness firm that knows the exact information that is needed for an accurate rebuild estimate report, it streamlines the entire process from beginning to end for the clients, the law firm and/or insurance company. This information can be gathered through a short 30-60-minute phone interview and paired with public, online sites that can provide most, if not all, of the necessary information in a good picture of the loss. When other documentation is available from the client, those documents can be dragged and dropped by the clients straight to the expert witness. This can all be done with a 3-5 business day turn around. This process is efficient, accurate, and less painful, making it a win for the client, a win for the law firm and/or insurance company, and a win for the expert witness. If your expert witness firm cannot provide this type of resolution, why are they your expert witness firm?