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Naples Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Legal Advice > What should I remember in order to be the best possible witness for my personal injury claim trial?

What should I remember in order to be the best possible witness for my personal injury claim trial?

The trial is the most important part of your case. It is your only day in court and you will probably not get a second chance. Nobody is perfect but you can prepare yourself to be as good a witness as possible. The following recommendations will assist you to do the best job possible.

  1. Review your deposition transcript and interrogatory answers if your lawyer asks you to do so. It is important for your trial testimony to be consistent with your discovery.

  2. Do not mention insurance. If insurance or anything about it is injected into the case, the judge will probably declare a mistrial and you will have to wait for another trial date.

  3. Dress appropriately. You should not wear flashy clothes, a lot of jewelry or a lot of makeup. The type of clothing you would wear to a church function or a PTA meeting is appropriate.

  4. Review your medical history so that you have a good idea about injuries you have had, doctors you have seen, hospitals, which have treated you etc.

  5. Never exaggerate. Do not exaggerate about how the incident happened or about your injuries. An exaggeration will almost always hurt you and never help.

  6. Don’t be a “wise-guy.” A courtroom is not the place for being coy, wise or funny. If something happens in the courtroom that is humorous, it is acceptable to laugh with the jury, but do not try to be a comedian.

  7. Be courteous to everyone including the defense attorney and court personnel. Polite people impress jurors. Call the judge “Your Honor, ” show respect to courtroom personnel and call the defense attorney “Sir” or “Ma’am” from time to time.

  8. Never lose your temper. Defense attorneys know one way to win a case – get the witness to lose his or her temper. If you feel badgered by the attorney, react courteously. People who can remain calm under cross-examination impress jurors.

  9. Listen carefully to each question and take your time to answer. Do not anticipate. Wait for the questioner to finish before you speak.

  10. Look at the jurors!!! This cannot be stressed enough. Look jurors in the eye when you testify just as if you were talking to your best friend or closest relative. Jurors tend to believe people who can look them straight in the eye.

  11. Speak clearly and answer with “Yes, ” “No, ” etc. and not with words like “Ya, ” “Ahah, ” “Um, ” etc.

  12. Do not look to your lawyer for answers. You are the witness -not your lawyer. If you look to your lawyer for answers, the jury may become suspicious.

  13. Be yourself. You are likely to be nervous and this is appropriate because jurors expect that people who testify in court will be nervous. After a brief period of time, you will be comfortable, especially if you are telling the truth.

  14. Do not put on a show about your injuries. Jurors are suspicious about people who try to exaggerate or display their injuries when they sit down, get up, walk, etc. Jurors are able to ascertain a phony gesture just like adults know when children are faking illness.

  15. Tell the truth! This is repeated because it is so important. There may be things about your case that will hurt you – no case is perfect. If so, don’t be afraid to admit the truth. The defense lawyer would love to catch you in a lie because one lie can destroy your case.

For more information, call The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. at 239-649-8050 or contact us.

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