Frequently Asked Questions
This page is designed to answer common questions you might have before hiring Bart Baggett, or any professional court qualified forensic document examiner who works in our network of office around the country.
We hope this list of Frequently Asked Questions will assist you in making a hiring decision. Naturally, you can call our office and ask these questions directly.
Here are the most common questions we are asked from prospective clients. We work with attorneys and non-attorneys.
→ What kind of document and legal cases do you handle? A) All documents with handwritten items and many documents relating to age, fonts, typography, and authenticity.
→ How do I get my case started? A) Call our office and talk to one of our case managers. Then, email or mail your documents and pay the retainer/ fee.
→ Do I have to have originals? Can you examine faxes or photocopies? A) Originals are always preferred as it provides more evidence for inspection. However, it is very common do the labwork and render an opinion with evidence such as photocopies or photographs of documents.
→ How much will it cost to see if my case can be won? A) See the rate sheet page or talk to our one of our team members.
→ How many comparable documents do you need? An ideal number of reliable known signatures and pages of handwriting samples “the more the better”. However, please talk to us and we can discuss this with you.
→ How long will it take to get my official opinion? A) 3-7 business days is the normal turnaround time for basic cases. It depends on the number of other cases in the queue and the complexity of your case. If you have 10 suspects to analyze, the case will take longer than one person.
→ How do I get my documents to your laboratory for inspection? Snail mail, drop off in-person, or via email. Email is the preferred method to get your case started.
→ Why should I hire Bart Baggett, instead of another less qualified or less well known examiner? A) That depends on your budget, your desire to work with the best, conflict checks, and the whether or not the testimony and reputation of your expert witness is important to win your case.
Scroll Down for more questions and Answers.
Call Today: 214-614-8122 New Client Hotline 11AM-8PM CST.
Ask for Mari Taylor. We serve clients internationally. We have offices in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York.
We work with America's top forensic experts coast to coast. Bart Baggett has worked with the top attorneys in the USA, mayors, celebrities, and smart aggressive legal teams to win cases nationwide. His staff is well-trained and can support you as your case moves toward trial.
Mayor of Los Angeles Says:
“When you need a professional handwriting expert of the highest standards, hire Bart Baggett. He is honest, quick, direct… and will deliver an objective expert opinion, every time. I recommend him without hesitation.”
~ Richard J. Riordan, 39th Mayor of Los Angeles
Other Common Questions
Can I hire a forensic document examiner to testify in my state or my country?
Yes, Bart Baggett and his team of forensic experts travel to the state and county where the trial is in progress. We now can even provide testimony via Zoom in many courts around the country. Most of the cases we work with do not ever go to trial because many times the official letter of opinion and the depositions which happen before a trial date end up creating a settlement or the issue at hand is no longer contested. However, if you need an expert to appear in court, we will be there for you. In today's post Covid-19 world, many courts are allowing Zoom testimony from expert witnesses. This will save you money on travel expenses.
How much do handwriting experts charge to render an opinion?
Many experts working today are either retired government employees or independent examiners. Depending on who you hire, you will pay a $2500 as a non-refundable retainer before they even begin the case with additional fees of $300-$400 per hour.
However, our experts charges a “flat rate” to analyze a single document and one person's handwriting to using a low flat rate option. We even have “verbal opinion ” option so that the results are not put down in writing and thus are not easily discoverable by an opposing attorney. These rates and all additional fees are clearly posted on the rate page. This billing system helps both attorneys and individuals budget their expert witness expenses accurately with no surprises or long hourly fees to pay after the case is over. Ask about our flat-rate pricing option.
Why should I hire one of the experts in our office, instead of another less qualified examiner that might be offering lower prices?
The founder, Bart Baggett, is the most recognized (famous) handwriting expert working in the USA. If credibility, accuracy, and integrity are important to your case, hire Bart and work with his team to resolve your case. If he is good enough to be called upon by CNN repeatedly and has repeat attorney clients… he is good enough for your case. In the event Bart Baggett is not available to testify on your court day and time, one of his associates (whom he personally trained and mentored) will be made available. You are invited to call our local office today and have a conversation about your case.
What training does a handwriting expert have to have in order to testify in a court of law?
That is a very long answer. The short answer is that an expert's qualifications are judged by the judge in each case. The long answer is that many working handwriting experts are not qualified and shouldn't be taking cases, but do. Don't get duped by hiring an underqualified expert or self-trained so-called expert. If someone is quoting you a price of rendering an expert opinion for under $200… this person is most likely under qualified and undertrained and won't get heard in a real court of law.
Bart Baggett is the founder of the only 2-year forensic training program in the world and has trained working examiners have gone on to be successful in both government labs and private practice. All the students go through rigorous 2-year educational program and a 2 year hands on apprenticeship program.
Can I just email my document to you for a quick verbal opinion?
Our email address is on the contact page, and we encourage you to send a high-resolution document to get your case started. However, we do not render opinions of any documents without pre-payment. There is no “quick opinion”, as we are bound to each opinion and must be able to prove it up in court, this takes time. We will not take shortcuts with your case. Once you get an opinion from us, we want to be able to defend that opinion in court.
Our experts take time with every case to consider all the evidence. We will review your documents to evaluate if the documents have the quality needed to be analyzed in our lab. Because our “opinion” is what you are paying for, it would be illogical to ask for us to give you our “product” without payment. You wouldn't ask a Pep Boys to give you a brand new tire… and then decide if you want to pay him or not after the tire is on your car. We are paid for our expertise and free consultations do not include the final opinion. But, if you have questions, we have answers. Please call us to discuss your case.
My case contains no originals, can you still render an opinion which will hold up in court?
Yes. It is common for cases to go to trial based on photocopies or the best available documents. While not preferred, in many cases experts must render an opinion using evidence that is available… even if that evidence is low resolution black and white copies or faxes.
Will Bart's opinion be accepted in a court of law?
Of course, but an expert witness's testimony is never a guarantee the judge will rule in your favor. Documents are usually one piece of a much larger puzzle in any lawsuit. Mr. Baggett has been accepted and allowed to testify 100% of the times he has sat in the witness box by judges from California, Texas, to New York.
How much will it cost to have Bart Baggett himself come to court and testify in person? Does he travel outside of Texas
(Yes. Often. Mr. Baggett's rate sheet is downloadable on this site. Also, the client pays for travel expenses and a small travel fee. Having Mr. Baggett come to you is well worth the travel expenses compared to a less qualified and less experienced local expert. ) These days many judges are allowing Zoom video testimony instead of an in-person appearance. This could save you hundreds of dollars on travel fees.
All these questions and more can be answered by simply calling our office. Your first conversation will take place without a fee, so you can make sure you are hiring the right expert for the job. We welcome your call.