Expert witnesses are accepted by the court due to a demonstrated proficiency, or expertise, within a field due to their education, certification, experience and general training. The must apply this knowledge to a related matter of the case that is being tried and that they have been called to testify on. The court then weighs the testimony of the expert witness more heavily than that of an average citizen.
A human factors expert witness is valuable to court trials because they can deliver insight into many nuances that relate to how humans perceive, understand, and interact with the conditions of their environment or a specific situation. A human factors expert witness provides clarity and insight into matters of the case about how and why issues may have occurred and led to the outcomes experienced in a case.
Human Factors – A Wholistic Approach
Human factors is a science that deals with the human being and how they interact with people, things and environmental and societal influences. This also includes how people perceive, interpret and react to information or situational cues in everyday life that drive both positive and negative outcomes. In the courtroom, human factors experts are used as a professional reference. In daily life, they work closely in many settings to help design and create safe and efficient products, processes and procedures and environments. When it comes to safety and reducing hazardous conditions, including in the workplace, ergonomics and human factors experts are the key to success.
Human factors experts are called upon to provide their professional opinion on the human element and the circumstances of the situation that impacted the specific outcomes under review within the case. The experts review the facts of the case, including: all applicable evidence, case documentation and testimony, assessment of the site where the incident occurred, and review of applicable requirements or building codes.
Human factors experts can assist with many diverse case types including:
- Workplace Safety
- Slips Trips and Falls
- Attention and Distraction
- Product Design
- Displays and Controls
- Driver Behavior
- Fatigue and sleep deprivation
- Environmental Impacts (lighting, noise, vibration etc.)
- Risk perception