For many people, a personal injury claim and retaining a personal injury attorney may be the first interactions they have in the legal world. They have been injured in an accident and want to exercise their legal right to be fairly compensated for the losses they have sustained as a result of that accident. Dipping your toe in the legal world can be overwhelming. It may feel like entering a foreign land where you do not speak the language. Our office is committed to demystifying the personal injury process and helping you be as comfortable as possible going forward. To do that, we are going to talk a bit more about what can happen at a personal injury trial. More specifically, we will speak to different witnesses and the roles they can play at trial. While most personal injury claims settle out of court, it can be important to be prepared for the possibility that going to trial may be in your future.
Personal Injury Trial Witness Types
Witnesses play a central role in a personal injury trial. In fact, evidence is authenticated through witnesses. Medical records? Your doctor may testify to those. Accident report? The officer who arrived at the scene will likely testify to that. Photos of the accident scene? Witnesses to the accident may speak to them.
There are two general categories of witnesses. There are lay witnesses and expert witnesses. Lay witnesses are qualified to testify at trial because they have personal knowledge of issues relating to the state. Witnesses to the accident can testify to what they saw at the scene of the accident, how the accident occurred, and what happened afterward. Your doctor can testify as to your injuries and course of treatment. Your employer can testify about the impact your injuries have had on your ability to perform your job duties and your overall demeanor at work. Your friends and family can testify to how your accident injuries have impacted your everyday life.
Expert witnesses, on the other hand, are permitted to testify at trial because they are uniquely qualified in a particular area that is relevant to the case. A witness must possess specialized knowledge, training, and experience in such a field and must be able to testify to prove such status as an expert before the court, prior to further testimony. There can be a wide range of experts that testify at personal injury trials. The experts present at a trial will largely depend on the specific facts, circumstances, and legal issues involved in a particular case. Should there be questions as to who is liable for an accident raised by doubts as to how the accident occurred, an expert in the field of accident reconstruction may be present to testify as to how the accident most likely occurred based on the totality of the evidence, such as property damage and skid marks on the roadway.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
For more information on the personal injury claims process and how we can help you bring a successful claim, talk to the trusted team of personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy about your options. Contact us today.