Experience and Practical Knowledge to Make Technical Judgments

"Experience and practical knowledge may qualify one to make technical judgments as readily as formal education." International Telecomm. Sys. v. State, 359 So. 2d 364, 368 (Ala. 1978); Rule 702, Ala. R. Evid. Expert testimony is admissible if it "will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue." Rule 702. With regard to the admissibility of expert testimony, this Court has held as follows: "A ruling on the admissibility of expert testimony is largely within the discretion of the trial court and will not be overturned unless there has been an abuse of discretion. Bell v. Hart, 516 So. 2d 562 (Ala. 1987); Maslankowski v. Beam, 288 Ala. 254, 259 So. 2d 804 (1972). The purpose of expert testimony is to aid the trier of fact where the subject matter is beyond the ken of the average juror. Ex parte Hill, 553 So. 2d 1138 (Ala. 1989); Thompson v. Jarrell, 460 So. 2d 148 (Ala. 1984). Thus, where a witness has sufficient 'knowledge, skill, experience, or training ... that his opinion will be considered in reason as giving the trier of fact light upon the question to be determined' it should be admitted as expert testimony. Ellingwood v. Stevens, 564 So. 2d 932 (Ala. 1990), citing, C. Gamble, McElroy's Alabama Evidence, 127.01(5) (3d ed. 1977). A critical distinction in this case is that an objection to testimony of a competent expert based on the witness's lack of knowledge goes to the weight of the evidence and not its admissibility. See Ellingwood, supra; Thaggard v. Vafes, 218 Ala. 609, 119 So. 647 (1929); Pollard v. State, 549 So. 2d 593 (Ala. Crim. App. 1989)."