Follow These Tips When Testifying in Court
If you are the victim of a car accident, slip and fall, nursing home abuse, or any other type of personal injury, then you may be called on to testify in court. Most people don’t want to testify in front of a judge, jury, or an aggressive lawyer who is examining their story for holes. Nevertheless, it is a necessary part of the court proceedings. Your testimony is an essential component in strengthening your case after filing injury claims in Boca Raton.
Testifying is never easy, but we can assure you it will be far less intimidating if you prepare.
You will not be alone during this difficult time. The trial lawyers at Bernstein Polsky Injury Law will work with you to help you prepare. On our part, we will review your full testimony and make necessary revisions. We will ask you questions that the defendant’s attorneys will likely ask during cross-examination. Then, we will help you come up with the best ways to answer them. Our attorneys have years of experience and training and they know what to expect from the other side. What we know, you will know and this will better prepare you against hostile questioning.
In this article, we will explain what you should do while on trial.
It is natural to defend yourself against hostile attacks. During cross-examination, it is likely that the defendant’s attorney will approach you in a hostile manner. No matter how much this upsets you, do not attempt to argue your side of the story. Always remember that your argument will be heard, but not directly by you – you must rely on your attorney to defend your claims.
When testifying, your responses should be straightforward. Any form of elaboration can reveal inconsistencies in your original statement, which can be used against you. Additionally, arguing your point will show an aggressive emotion. Many lawyers will question you in an attempt to get you to lash out. Don’t fall into their trap. Simply answer the question and avoid showing a wide range of emotions.
Yes, you should always tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” If you lie in an attempt to strengthen your case, this, too, can contradict a previous statement you made. This will look far worse than telling a truth that puts you in a bad light. While testifying, it is important to know that an omission can also be seen as a lie. While you should never overshare, try not to withhold information (especially if it can easily be proved) if you think it can hurt your case. Attorney’s are experts at discovering unmentioned facts. Don’t allow them to present you with information you purposely withheld, as this can take you off guard.
We briefly touched on the problems of elaborating when being cross-examined by the opposing attorney. Do your best to answer with a “yes” or “no.” When you elaborate, you divulge information the other side did not ask for and should not know. They can intentionally distort the information to weaken your argument.
Remember, during cross-examination, the defendant’s attorney will try to put you in a bad light – expect nothing less. However, you will have the opportunity to elaborate and sufficiently explain your side of the story when your attorney questions you. Wait for that moment to provide additional information.
Carefully Consider the Question
When you have been asked a question, you do not need to answer immediately. If you can’t provide more than a “yes” or “no” statement, then take the time to come up with the best way to answer them. If the attorney asks a question that you do not remember the answer to, tell them you don’t remember. This does not necessarily make you look bad – in every story, details can easily be forgotten.
Ask for Clarification
If you do not understand a question that was asked, ask the attorney to clarify. Some attorneys use the same legal terminology when writing documents to speak to witnesses and plaintiffs, so asking for clarification is not uncommon. Furthermore, saying that you don’t understand the question looks a lot better than answering a question incorrectly because you didn’t understand it.
Remain Calm and Relaxed
You may not be able to remain calm and relaxed but do your best. Take deep breaths if you must. Rely on what you and your attorney rehearsed for your testimony. Be truthful. You will find that applying these techniques will work in your favor. When filing injury claims in Boca Raton, contact Bernstein Polsky. Call 954-997-9947 for a consultation.