How Do Attorneys Preserve Witness Testimony During an Injury Case?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on February 7, 2022 in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023
After an accident, there are certain things that can help attorneys build strong cases for compensation for victims, particularly when the cause of a crash is unclear. In these situations, having testimony from a witness who can recount what happened can be invaluable.
If you were injured in an accident and there is a witness who can corroborate your version of events and/or explain the cause of the crash, it is important to preserve this person’s testimony.
Fortunately, our New Jersey car accident attorneys have significant experience working with crash witnesses and know what steps to take to preserve their testimony as we work to build a strong case for compensation on your behalf.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PRESERVE WITNESS TESTIMONY?
It is important to preserve witness testimony for several reasons. Injury cases take time to resolve, especially if the case goes to court. If the case reaches the discovery phase, witness testimony may be crucial. When so much time has passed between the date of the accident and the moment when a witness gets the opportunity to provide a statement under oath, he or she may not remember things as clearly. This may be especially true if the witness is someone who does not personally know the injury victim and was just a bystander at the scene of an accident.
In some cases, the witness providing testimony is someone who was involved in the accident and suffered a serious or life-threatening injury and may not be able to provide testimony during a deposition or at trial. Getting his or her statement quickly and preserving it may be vital to the strength of your case.
Lastly, there are times when a witness is from another state or a foreign national who may not be around when it comes time to provide testimony. Therefore, preserving that person’s statement after the crash may be necessary.
STEPS ATTORNEYS TAKE TO PRESERVE WITNESS TESTIMONY
There are two ways for attorneys to preserve the testimony of witnesses.
An affidavit is a sworn and signed statement from someone. Generally, attorneys ask eyewitnesses to sign an affidavit that recounts what they witnessed in an accident. This then becomes part of the official record of a case.
An attorney can review a witness affidavit later and determine whether that person’s testimony may be important in a case.
A deposition is a verbal question and answer session conducted under oath and the recording of the interview is filed as part of the official record.
One main difference between an affidavit and a deposition is that a deposition is only conducted during the discovery process, whereas an affidavit may be requested and signed at any point during a claim.
However, affidavits and depositions also have one thing in common: they both provide attorneys the opportunity to determine whether a witness is lying about something.
CAN DISCOVERY BE EXPEDITED TO PRESERVE WITNESS TESTIMONY?
The discovery process may be expedited in certain situations to preserve the testimony of a witness. That means a deposition may be conducted early on in a case when there is significant reason to believe that the witness may not be around when the discovery process begins.
For discovery to be expedited, one party must request permission from the court to begin the process early and must provide a valid argument for why it needs to be expedited. If the judge overseeing the case agrees, discovery may begin. However, a judge may order that only depositions may be expedited for the one witness whose availability in the future is questionable. Therefore, it would not be a blanket approval to expedite depositions for all witnesses.
CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and you have witnesses who can back up your claim, you may be wondering how to preserve their statements, especially if they are bystanders you do not know personally.
Fortunately, our attorneys have experience dealing with situations like these and are prepared to take the necessary steps to help gather and preserve witness testimony from people who may be able to help your case.
Call (800) 518-0508 to schedule a free consultation today.