Tips for Testifying in Your Accident Case

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1

Review your deposition transcript and interrogatory answers.

Your attorney will explain to you how critical it is, in terms of the credibility of your case, for your testimony to be consistent with earlier discovery.

2

Do not mention insurance.

If insurance or anything about insurance comes out in the trial, the judge will probably declare a mistrial and you'll have to wait for another trial date.

3

Dress appropriately.

Your clothing should be conservative and respectful-what you would perhaps wear to a church function or other official meeting.

4

Review your medical history.

That way you can testify accurately and with authority on your medical history: injuries suffered in the incident, doctors who treated you, hospitals that you were treated in, and the nature and extent of the medical care you received.

5

Never overstate or exaggerate.

It is important never to exaggerate or overstate your injuries. Exaggeration can destroy your credibility and your case.

6

Be courteous and respectful to everyone, including the defense attorney.

Courteous behavior and respect shown to the judge and defense counsel will impress the jurors. Always refer to the judge as "Your Honor" and refer to the defense attorney as "sir" or "ma'am."

7

Don't lose control.

Defense attorneys will typically try to get a witness to lose their temper. If you feel that you are being badgered, remain courteous and in control. Your composure will impress the jury, often causing the defense attorney's tactic to backfire.

8

Don't anticipate.

Always wait until the question is finished before you provide an answer. Listen carefully to each question and take your time in answering.

9

Look at the jurors.

The importance of this can't be overstated. Looking into the eyes of the jurors and speaking directly to them, as you would a friend, will make your testimony more credible in the jury's mind.

10

Speak clearly.

Always answer "yes" or "no"-never with a nod of the head, an "uh huh" or a "yeah."

11

Do not look at your lawyer for answers.

You are the witness and must be able to answer the questions on your own. Looking at your lawyer for guidance during your testimony will make the jury doubt your honesty.

12

Act naturally.

You are going to be nervous-it's inevitable-and everyone understands that, including the jury. But don't worry. After you begin testifying, you'll be more comfortable, especially because you're going to be telling the truth.

13

Tell the truth.

The truth is what your case is about. No one's case is perfect. Don't be afraid to tell the truth to the jury when asked. Remember, the defense attorney is waiting to catch you in a lie to destroy your credibility.

Additional Resources

Consumer Resource Alliance

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