Witnesses to an accident may be one of the most important assets to injury victims when building a strong case for compensation. Therefore, preserving the testimony from eyewitnesses or expert witnesses may be crucial to recovering the compensation you need.
Our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers in Fort Worth are prepared to guide you through the claims process and help you build a strong case for compensation. The initial consultation is free of charge.
Below, we discuss some important steps attorneys may take to preserve witness testimony during an injury case.
Importance of Preserving Witness Testimony
Preserving witness testimony is important in most legal proceedings. However, it may be especially important in injury cases. This is because the time between the accident and the trial may be extended, and the witness’s memory of the events may not be as clear when it comes time to testify in court.
Additionally, a witness who suffers life-threatening injuries in an accident may not survive those injuries long enough to testify at trial, which may be harmful to the outcome of a case.
Other times testimony preservation may be important are when witnesses may be from out-of-state or foreign nationals who will not be in the state where the accident occurred to testify when the trial date comes around.
One way attorneys begin the process of preserving witness testimony is to ask eyewitnesses to the accident to sign a sworn statement, officially called an affidavit, with their version of events.
Preserving Witness Testimony Through Discovery
The discovery process is when both parties to a lawsuit get the opportunity to ask the opposing party for evidence to help build their case. This includes things like:
- Official documents (medical records, driving records, etc.)
- Witness information
It is important to note that discovery does not and never will be allowed until a complaint (a lawsuit) is officially filed by one party. Requests for expedited discovery would need to be very specific and are usually only used when there is a need for an early decision from the court on a certain aspect of a case.
One example of when expedited discovery in the form of an early deposition may be required is in the case of an accident with a witness who suffered a life-threatening injury. He or she may not make it through the entirety of the discovery process to be deposed.
Once the discovery process begins, your attorney may take additional steps to preserve testimony from any witnesses needed to help build your case for compensation, including depositions and sometimes interrogatories.
These recorded interviews are conducted while the person being asked the questions, or deposed, is under oath. The purpose of a deposition is for each party to get a better sense of what a witness has to say about a case, as well as to preserve the testimony of an eyewitness for the official record if the case goes to trial.
Both sides are allowed to depose non-party witnesses.
Similar to depositions, interrogatory questions are also answered under oath. However, instead of spoken, interrogatories are written questions that are also answered in writing.
It is important to clarify that interrogatories may not be issued to witnesses who are not a party to either side of the case. In other words, eyewitnesses who were not involved in the accident may not be sent interrogatories. Nor are expert witnesses allowed to be sent interrogatories.
Need Help During Your Claim? Call Us Today
If you were injured in an accident and need help pursuing compensation for your damages, our attorneys are prepared to help you file a claim, gather the necessary evidence and preserve witness testimony to build a strong case for maximum compensation.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim and see what legal options may be available to you.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule your free consultation.