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Expert Witnesses Are Important in IDEA Litigation

Attorneys who represent parents in claims arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) should be aware of a recent study that points to the influence expert testimony may have on the outcome of the case. Lawyers may want to explore the possibility of retaining an expert witness before a complaint is filed. The study found that parents are more likely than school boards to prevail at the complaint investigation stage, before the case goes to a hearing. It may, therefore, be helpful for parents’ lawyers to retain an expert witness at an early stage so that the expert’s opinions can influence the complaint investigation.

When parents introduce expert evidence, they rely on board certified, psychologists, physicians, and vocational rehabilitation experts. On the whole, school districts tend to call twice as many witnesses as parents.


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