In my last post, I offered some injury claim advice about being a witness. I explained that personal injury victims may need to testify under oath in order to receive compensation. While, in most cases, such testimony is not necessary, sometimes it is.
If you are ever an accident victim and have to testify, here is some more injury claim advice about what to do:
Dress Well, Listen and Tell the Truth
1. Always tell the truth. Not only is telling the truth the moral thing to do, it is also the most effective way to win your case. If the true version of the facts was not good enough to win in court, your personal injury attorney would not have accepted your case in the first place.
2. Dress formally. First impressions count. I recommend that my clients dress as if they were going to a formal wedding. (Of course, I don’t mean that, say, a man should wear a tux. However, a jacket and tie, at least, would be nice).
3. Think before you speak. Make sure that you’ve understood the question before you answer it. Otherwise, if you’ve misunderstood the question, you may as inadvertently say something that is not true and hurt your credibility.
Understand, Don’t Argue & Answer Precisely
4. If you don’t understand the question, ask for it to be repeated or rephrased.
5. Do not argue with the other lawyer. If necessary, your own personal injury attorney will object to any improper questions.
6. Only answer the exact question posed to you. Do not go beyond that. Otherwise, again, your answer may not be strictly accurate and you will lose credibility. For example, if the defense lawyer asks you what color the traffic light facing you was at the time of the accident, just respond“green,“ “amber,” or “red.” Resist the temptation to add anything, such as pointing out what color the light was for the other driver. Don’t worry, your accident attorney will bring all relevant points to the jury’s attention.
7. Never guess or speculate. If you do not know the answer to a question, just say so. There is nothing to be ashamed of. On the other hand, if you guess at a question to which you do not know the answer, you may guess wrong, and thus hurt your credibility.
The above injury claim advice covers just some of the basics of testifying. These hints are not exclusive. If you ever actually have to testify in a personal injury case, your attorney will provide specific guidance appropriate for your exact case.