Q: Must I testify in my own vehicle accident case?
You probably won’t be required to testify regarding your vehicle accident claim, since the overwhelming majority of these cases never go to trial.
Even when a lawsuit is filed, most of the time these claims are settled out of court before the trial takes place. There are two primary reasons for this:
- When current medical expenses are well-documented and credible experts have correctly estimated future costs, there's little to argue about in court.
- Litigation is costly, especially when expert witness and court reporter expenses are involved. The expense of a court trial may outweigh the cost of medical treatment.
The Trial Process
Vehicle accident trials may be rare, but they're occasionally unavoidable. Disagreement between the parties may become so contentious that a settlement cannot be reached, requiring a jury trial.
Should the case go to court, the plaintiff must convince a jury the defendant was negligent, that this negligence caused the collision, and the collision resulted in injury. To do so, the plaintiff must provide evidence, and this evidence may include his own testimony. The plaintiff benefits from an opportunity to testify in court when he's able to convey information to the jury that strengthens his case. He can provide his perspective about the cause of the collision, the injuries he sustained, and the pain and suffering he must now live with.
However, testifying also gives the defense attorney an opportunity to discredit an inadequately-prepared plaintiff through cross-examination.
Preparing for Trial
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, your claim will likely be resolved without a trial. However, if your case does go to court, your attorney can help you prepare for it.
The thought of testifying in court may be intimidating, but an experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process. He'll review questions with you that you’re likely to be asked, and advise you regarding appropriate dress and behavior in court. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.