Posted on: 26 November 2014
Regardless of how prepared you think you are, there's no way to really know what will occur when you are sworn in under oath and take the stand in a personal injury suit. The best approach is to be yourself, give truthful answers and try to relax. There are some general rules that should be followed when you are giving testimony under oath.
Rule 1. Be honest. If you don't remember something 100 percent, don't say yes or no when you're unsure. You should instead qualify your response by saying it is based on what you are able to remember at that time.
Rule 2. Don't volunteer information. Keep your answers brief and to the point. This means a one word or (at most) one sentence answer whenever possible. The more you volunteer, the greater the chance the opposing party will be able to discredit your testimony.
Rule 3. It is, however, to your advantage to fully and accurately answer questions that can benefit your case. This means having a comprehensive mental list of things you can no longer do because of the ways in which your accident has impacted your quality of life.
Rule 4. Focus on the question being posed and answer succinctly and accurately, particularly when you're being asked about a time, distance or date. Never guess without explaining that you're guessing.
Rule 5. As a full of thumb, never use the words "never" or "always" as it's a good bet the opposing side will find a way to use it against you. It is also, of course, important to let the opposing side's counsel complete his question before you start to respond. Do not interrupt him or her at any time. However, if opposing counsel interrupts you, make sure to point it out and state that you did not get the opportunity to complete your answer to the earlier question.
Rule 6. If you don't fully understand a question, ask that it be clarified. You can also ask for a question to be rephrased or restated. It's also important that (throughout your testimony and during other court proceedings) you remain courteous.
Rule 7. Remaining calm and polite will benefit your case. Also, dressing well and behaving in an appropriate manner will help to make a good impression.
Rule 8. There are several ways that the opposing counsel will attempt to confuse you or get you to harm your case. One method is to ask you the amount of money you are seeking. Another is to try and get you to answer questions from one or more legal documents. In these instances, you should answer that your lawyer will have to answer that question.
Get in touch with a local legal firm, like Large & Associates Attorneys for more tips on how to handle courtroom testimonies.Share