Witnesses in Personal Injury Trials
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve never participated in a personal injury trial. Indeed, 95% of all civil lawsuits are resolved prior to trial. However, sometimes the insurance company refuses to pay fair compensation to accident victims. When that occurs, an accident victim’s lawsuit may have to proceed to a jury trial.
At trial, your attorney will present evidence in the form of documents and testimony. For instance, your attorney may submit your medical bills and medical records so that the jury understands the history of your post-accident medical treatment and how much you paid for that treatment. Your attorney will also call witnesses to testify on your behalf.
If you have any questions about the witnesses that you might need to present at trial, you should contact the Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC. Our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers that have successfully won jury trials for decades, including a $16 million dollar verdict in 2016.
What Are The Different Types of Trial Witnesses?
There are two different types of witnesses: lay witnesses and expert witnesses.
Lay witnesses testify about what they personally observed. Lay witnesses may include individuals that saw the accident occur, such as a bystander at a restaurant that looks out the window and sees the car collision occur. They also may include friends, family members, co-workers, and other members of the accident victim’s community that can explain what the victim was like before and after the accident so that the jury understands how the accident changed the victim’s life.
Other types of lay witnesses include:
- The doctor(s) that treated the accident victim’s injuries
- The physical therapist(s) that helped rehabilitate the accident victim’s injuries
- The accident victim’s supervisor
- The at-fault individual that harmed the victim
- The at-fault individual’s employer
The second type witnesses are expert witnesses. Expert witnesses provide testimony to help explain evidence that is more complicated, such as the speed of the at-fault driver’s vehicle at the moment his vehicle collided with the accident victim’s vehicle.
Expert witnesses may include:
- Economists that can explain the value of the accident victim’s lost wages and lost future earning capacity.
- Vocational rehabilitation consultants that can explain the types of jobs that the victim might be able/unable to perform as a result of their injuries.
- Engineers that can explain the impact forces of a collision and how those forces might injure a victim.
- Accident reconstructionists
- Medical doctors
What Happens If The Insurance Company Hires Its Own Expert Witnesses?
Sometimes, the insurance defense attorneys hire a paid expert to challenge your case. The defense lawyers will pay that expert thousands of dollars to give an opinion that seemingly contradicts the evidence that you have presented, such as how your injuries were caused or what your future physical limitations will be following the accident.
In most cases where the accident victim had to undergo surgery as a result of the incident, the defense will hire a paid doctor. That doctor will never have examined you. He will only have reviewed some of your medical records. He won’t even know what you look like. The paid doctor will say whatever the defense lawyers pay him to say – if he didn’t, they wouldn’t ever hire him!
Fortunately, your lawyer has the opportunity to cross-examine the defense’s paid doctor at trial. Some injury lawyers find that task daunting because the doctor usually has a long list of credentials and he’s testified in many other trials. At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, we are thrilled by the opportunity to cross-examine the defense lawyer’s paid doctor.
We know that if we carefully prepare for that moment, we can establish one or more of the following: 1) that the paid doctor is a liar; 2) that the paid doctor doesn’t know what he’s talking about; or, 3) that the paid doctor has taken extreme positions because has no compassion for suffering victims. In many cases, the paid doctors actually have to agree with most of the opinions our client’s treating doctor has made because he knows that if he disagrees with the treating doctor, he will look silly.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help
At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, our lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars for injured victims and their families. We understand that those successes were only possible because we took the time to master our clients’ cases and ensure that we were fully prepared to succeed at trial.