Every year, millions of people in the United States are injured in a variety of incidents, such as auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, and others. When a person sustains an injury in an accident, it can be difficult to remember to collect information that may be later used to support their subsequent personal injury claim. In such situations, witnesses present at that time play a crucial role in proving your claim and getting fair compensation for your damages.
Witnesses can be classified into two major categories that may be important in establishing the legitimacy of your personal claim either during negotiations for settlement or at trial in front of a jury or judge.
1. Lay Witnesses
A lay witness is a person who was present when the accident took place and witnessed what happened. They can be bystanders, people driving past the incident scene, a person sitting in a nearby café, or any other individual who can testify regarding the accident. In some situations, witnesses take pictures or make videos to share their experience of the situation on social media, which can also be used as a solid piece of evidence.
For example, in a vehicle accident case, lay witnesses can give testimony about the directions and speed of vehicles, road and weather conditions at that time, traffic conditions, visibility issues, statements that both parties made after the accident, property damage and injuries each party sustained, and several other things. In a personal injury case, a witness can prove to be very helpful in determining liability and supporting the claim of the plaintiff.
2. Expert Witnesses
An expert witness is a person who possesses specialized knowledge, relevant experience, and training in a particular field. The party introducing the expert witness to testify about certain aspects of the accident will generally have to establish that they are an expert and should be named prior, if going to trial. For example, common expert witnesses in a vehicle accident case may include medical specialists, healthcare providers, auto accident reconstructionists, vocational specialists, and economists.
In order to support your personal injury claim, your attorney may call upon a few experts who can give testimony pertaining to certain facts of your case, provide their expert opinions, and refute any inaccuracies that may be present in the defense’s statements. Expert witnesses play a critical role in trials where the judge and jury require solid evidence to make sound decisions. Moreover, in some personal injury cases, courts need the testimony of an expert witness before they can allow the plaintiff to file a lawsuit.
Getting depositions from experts and lay witnesses in a personal injury claim can make a huge difference on the outcome of your case. In some situations, statements and reports may help a person and their attorney to reach a fair settlement amount without have to take matters to the court. If you have been injured in an accident due to another person’s negligence, it is best to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer can count on who will help you get depositions from potential witnesses and gather other forms of evidence to build a strong case.