How to Question a Witness in Your Injury Case
When you are injured in a Las Vegas personal injury accident, you want to do everything you can to effectively build your case. One of the most effective types of evidence in an injury case is witness testimony. A witness who watches what happens in an accident can be of great help in proving your theory of the case and collecting the compensation you deserve.
It is important to make the most of the witnesses that may be available in your case. You need to make sure that you and your personal injury attorney challenge them effectively. They may not know what is important to the case, so they may not be able to offer information that is useful to you. Here’s how to question a witness in an injury case.
Don’t wait until the trial
You do not have to wait until your trial date arrives to question witnesses. In fact, you shouldn’t wait until your test date. The sooner you can start talking to witnesses, the better. When you speak to witnesses immediately after the accident, their memories are still fresh and they are generally more willing to get involved.
Related: Why A Witness Affidavit May Not Be Enough In Your Personal Injury Case
Witnesses who are not biased in the case are often willing to speak openly about their observations. If a witness is willing to speak up, you can start by being nice. Introduce yourself and tell the witness about your relationship to the case. For example, if you are the victim, tell them. If you are calling on behalf of a spouse or friend, please let them know this too. Ask them if this is a good time to talk.
Allow them to present a narrative
When you first speak informally with a witness, you can begin by allowing the witness to give you a free account of the events. They will mention the details that they consider most important. Allowing the witness to speak freely causes them to open up. You often get more information by having the witness tell you what is most important first.
Ask follow-up questions
While the witness tells you what happened, take notes. Write down the things that are important and the things the witness mentions. Then you can go back through your notes.
Ask questions about the things where you want more details. Be sure to explore not only what your witness observed, but also where they were in relation to the accident and what might have allowed them a clear or obstructed view of the events.
Consider the elements of the case and the issues in dispute
Think about the elements of a personal injury lawsuit . Be sure to cover with each witness the when, where, who, why, and how of the accident. Also, be sure to investigate any possible biases. You can end your conversation by asking if they have anything to add.
Try to make your initial cross-examination of the witness feel like a conversation in which you ask the questions. End the conversation by thanking the witness for their time, and let them know that you will be in contact if necessary for the case. Ask them to inform you if their contact information changes in the future.
If a witness does not cooperate
Unfortunately, not all witnesses are cooperative. If a witness just doesn’t want to talk to you, there are still things you can do to find out what they know. Once your case is officially underway, it may issue a citation under the Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure Nevada .
Related: Tips for Dealing with Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case
A subpoena requires the witness to appear at a specific time and place for a deposition. Before beginning, remind the witness that they are under oath. Dress formally and record the deposition to impress the witness of the seriousness of the procedure and your obligation to tell the truth.
In the crossover exam
The witness you need to interview may not be your witness. They could be witnesses on the other side. Even if you are not the one calling the witness, you must ensure that you question them effectively. You have the opportunity to question each witness called by the other side. If the other party calls the witness, they first ask them questions. Then it’s your turn.
When the witness testifies on the other side, take careful notes. Make a list of the things you want to follow up on or the questions you ask about your testimonial. Then, as you question the witness, you can review his notes and go over his testimony again to ask follow-up questions.
Use the main questions in the crossover exam
In questioning, you are allowed to ask leading questions. Instead of letting the witness think of the correct answer to a question, you can suggest it in your question. Using opening questions can help you carve a hole in a witness’s testimony if they don’t have a good memory or are not sincere.
For example, “was it raining?” it is not a main question because the question does not suggest the answer. The question does not imply whether it was raining or not. You can ask “Was it raining?” In direct questioning or interrogation.
On the contrary, “it was raining, right?” It is an important question because it suggests the answer. The question suggests that it was raining. You are allowed to ask, “It was raining, wasn’t it?” In questioning.
Remember that you can use the opening questions only in cross-examination. You can use them to guide the witness through the facts to get to the key points you want the jury to understand from your testimony. Leading questions can also help you use the witness to tell your story to the jury in a clear and organized way.
How an Injury Lawyer Can Help
Excellent witness testimony can make or break your case. In your personal injury claim , working with an attorney is a great way to ensure the successful use of a witness. They have years of experience questioning witnesses effectively.
Your attorney will help you gather solid evidence and witness testimony to strengthen your case.
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