Not Using a Weather Expert Can Cost You Your Case

Contributed by Kevin Arnold, writer for CompuWeather, & Steve Roberts, CCM, President & Forensic Weather Expert

Too often, witnesses without training and experience in meteorology are called upon to discuss the weather. The problem is not with the witness, but the fact that their expertise doesn’t include the necessary credentials to qualify them to analyze weather data with accuracy and precision.

For example, in a slip and fall case, you’ll want testimony from snow and ice contracting experts who understand the role and responsibility that property owners have in creating a safe environment. While these professionals are experts in treatment types and removal procedures, they simply lack the knowledge and training to provide an accurate analysis of weather conditions at the specific location of the incident. These inaccuracies create a faulty foundation for their analysis, which can have a catastrophic effect on the validity of their final opinions.

It’s not a question of which witness is better; it’s about using the right tool for the job.

Seek out an expert with experience in meteorology to avoid these potential pitfalls in your next weather-related case.

Do you have the right data?

Anyone can pull weather data from the internet. But is this the best data? Is it reliable? Are there other sources of information that would better support the case? Weather experts have access to a wide range of weather data that isn’t widely available on the internet and have the expertise to analyze it. You can feel confident that you’re getting an accurate analysis of the weather for the precise location in question.

Is the data being interpreted correctly? 

Just because you have weather data doesn’t mean that a non-weather expert will understand how to analyze it. Weather events are complex and can be very localized, which means that simply using only the closest, easily accessible data can lead to wildly inaccurate assumptions for a specific location. Forensic meteorologists have the training and experience needed to interpret all of the available data for a specific location in a way that non-meteorological experts cannot.

Does the other side have a weather expert? 

When you rely on weather testimony from non-weather experts, you open yourself up to scrutiny when opposing counsel has a weather expert of their own. The weather expert on the other side will not only expose all inaccuracies, but can also provide the support to have your non-weather expert excluded from discussing the weather. This can seriously damage the outcome of your case.

How much is your reputation worth? 

Reputation is everything for lawyers as well as experts who testify in cases. While using non-weather experts to provide weather testimony may save on the total cost of experts for your case, it ultimately puts your case in jeopardy and runs the risk of tainting otherwise valuable testimony from witnesses who are experts in other fields.

The solution to these problems is to always consult with a forensic meteorologist when you have a weather-related case. When you work with a weather expert, you’ll know that every aspect of your case involving the weather has been thoroughly and accurately considered. This provides you with the support to create the best strategy for your case.

Give CompuWeather a call at (845) 227-8500. Speak with our Certified Consulting Meteorologists and see how their expertise can add value to your legal case or claim.