Steps to Help Preserve Witness Testimony
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on May 02, 2022 in Personal Injury
The testimony from a person who witnessed an accident that left you injured can be one of the most important pieces of evidence for validating a case. However, if you and your lawyer do not take steps to preserve a witness’ account of the incident, this person may forget vital details about the crash.
Our South Bend personal injury attorneys know how important witness statements can be and are prepared to take the steps necessary to preserve these statements.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim and learn more about your legal options. There are no upfront fees and we do not charge you anything while we work on your case.
Why Does Preserving Witness Testimony Matter?
When someone witnesses an accident, he or she may be able to back up the injury victim’s claim that another party acted negligently. Unfortunately, some witnesses may not recall an accident in explicit detail weeks or months after it happened, which can negatively affect your case. This is when the preservation of witness testimony becomes important.
A key witness could also be in poor health or have suffered life-threatening injuries in the same accident. In these cases, it can be essential to quickly take steps to preserve the witness account of the accident. There may be other evidence that helps validate a claim, but you do not want to lose witness testimony.
Another reason attorneys take steps to preserve witness testimony is because a witness may not be available for the trial if one occurs. While witnesses can be forced to testify, one exception can be if the person is out of the state or country.
What Steps Can Injury Victims Take to Help Preserve Witness Testimony?
While it is important to let your attorney handle witness interviews, there may be some steps you can take immediately following the accident to help preserve a statement from a witness. However, you should only take a statement from a witness if your injuries allow and if it is safe to do so.
In addition to getting witness contact information, you can also:
- Ask if he or she would allow you to record a statement on your phone
- Ask if he or she can provide an official statement to police
- Ask him or her to write down what he or she witnessed at the accident scene
Your attorney may be able to use this information when building a case for compensation.
What Steps Can an Attorney Take to Preserve Witness Testimony?
There are several ways an attorney may be able to preserve testimony from an important witness. Depending on the circumstances, our attorneys are prepared to take one or more of the following steps when necessary:
Request a Witness Sign a Sworn Statement/Affidavit
Your attorney may ask the witness to write out or record a statement about what he or she witnessed and sign it under oath in the presence of a notary public. Once signed, the document can be submitted to the court for the legal record or added to your attorney’s files to refer to when needed.
Have the Witness Attend a Deposition
A deposition cannot be held until a lawsuit has been filed and the case enters the discovery process, which only a court may allow. During a deposition, however, the witness may be cross-examined by the opposing party’s counsel. Generally, attorneys will refer to these statements during the jury trial if the case makes it that far.
Ask a Judge to Expedite the Discovery Process
In cases when an important witness will be unavailable on the date of the trial, whether due to failing health or some extenuating circumstances, an attorney may ask the judge overseeing the case to allow early discovery. This is typically determined on a case-by-case basis, and the court might only allow one deposition to be expedited.
Let Us Help. Call Today
If you need help preserving witness’ testimony or are not sure where to begin after an accident, call our knowledgeable attorneys today to discuss your legal options.
We offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything up front. Our attorneys work on contingency, meaning you do not pay us unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
No upfront fees. No risks to you. Call (844) 678-1800.