By Steven Babitsky, Esq.

Attorneys use many techniques and strategies to effectively cross-examine opposing expert witnesses. Dallas Attorney and trucking expert Mike H. Bassett, in his December 2019 article in For the Defense, explains the steps as follows:

  1. Establish control early. Let the expert know that you know the case better than anybody in the courtroom.
  2. Let the expert know that you have his or her number. Ask questions such as, “I have read forty-six of your prior dep­ositions, and isn’t it true that    ?” Or, “I will be asking you questions where I will use your actual testimony from forty-six other cases for which you have testified.” And be ready to point to the page and line if the expert tests you—because he or she will.
  3. Ask only leading questions.
  4. Granulate your questions down so that they focus on One. Fact. At. A. Time.
  5. Remember that you are the one testi­fying. The expert is simply agreeing with you.
  6. You want the jury watching and listen­ing to you.
  7. Done well, the expert witness will sim­ply be affirming your “testimony.”
  8. Use transition words and phrases to allow the jury to follow you. “My first area of questioning for you Mr. Smith, will focus on your work as a plaintiffs safety expert for the last twenty-eight years.” Or, “I want to leave this area and move on to my second area of ques­tioning and that is the assumptions and foundations of your report.”
  9. Start strong. Take your lumps in the middle of the cross-examination. And end even stronger.

For additional information, see: Cross-Exanimation of the Plaintiff’s Trucking Safety Expert: Eight Steps to Neutralize One of Your Biggest Threats; For the Defense; December 2019; Pages 67-70.