Do I Have To Come To Court And Testify In My Personal Injury Case?
If you go back and examine the numbers, it’s a safe bet to say that most personal injury claims don’t become “cases”. By that, I mean that the statistics reveal that most claims raised to or against an insurance company will resolve at some point through a settlement, or otherwise, prior to the initiation of litigation. Those statistics also show in that most cases where a lawsuit is filed also resolve at some point prior to trial. Nevertheless, a substantial portion of cases still end up in court. Some attorneys try more of their case other attorneys do, and if the case is going to trial, evidence in support of the claim must be marshaled, streamlined, and then, ultimately present to the finder of fact- a jury, or in some cases, a judge.
Over the years, I have been asked: “do I have to come to court to testify”? While I would imagine this question seems remarkable to most personal injury attorneys, it might not be as clear to someone who does not do this for a living.
Of course you have to come to court to testify in support of your claims.
The injured person is in a unique, indeed singular, position. They are the only individual that can adequately and fully convey the nature and extent of their injuries and the impact of those in on the normal course and flow of their life. Some litigants feel that they could have done a better job presenting their case. The reality is, in many ways, the only role of the personal injury victim at trial, is to give compelling, convincing, honest and succinct testimony about the facts of their case nature and extent of their injuries. If an injury victim doesn’t give testimony they wish the court to consider, the judge or the jury is not going to consider it. A personal injury lawyer cannot and will not do that for the injured person. As Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you.
Lawyers make arguments about what evidence means, they don’t create the evidence. In a personal injury case, the vital evidence is the nature and extent of an injury and the way it impacted the injured person’s life. Only the injured person can give this testimony. Similarly, the procedural rules impose discovery obligations- to provide information about the case, both documentary and otherwise. These can seem onerous for the litigants and for the attorneys. Litigation is an expensive, time-consuming and potentially lengthy process. Some individuals don’t want to be bothered with the obligation to provide information about their claim. Some litigants feel they are doing all the work on the case. Anyone embarking on a lawsuit against another person monetary compensation for personal injury must be prepared to appear in court and testify under oath regarding nature and extent of their injuries, and the effect of those injuries on the course and flow of their life. They need to be prepared to appear at depositions, answer questions, and produce documents. If an injury victim is not willing to participate in the process, they should reconsider the viability and importance of the claims they are making.
A personal injury attorney can prepare the injured person for trial, and assist with the marshaling and presentation of evidence. A good attorney can make compelling arguments about what that evidence shows and what the results should be.