Image of a woman testifying in court

Filing a personal injury claim can be unnerving, especially if you’re concerned about having to testify in court. While this scenario is certainly possible, telling your story in less intimidating settings, such as depositions or attorney-led interviews, is more common.

Only about 3% of personal injury cases end in a court judgment, which means the vast majority never even make it in front of a judge and jury. Instead, many are successfully resolved out of court.

Understanding the legal process and how a South Carolina personal injury lawyer can help prepare you to give your testimony, whether outside a courtroom or in, can ease your worries and help ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law.

Will Your Case Go to Trial?

Most personal injury cases are resolved through negotiation and settlement rather than going to trial. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 73% of tort cases, many of which involve personal injuries like car accidents, end in a voluntary settlement out of court.

Settlements are generally less time-consuming and costly for all parties involved. Going to trial can be lengthy and expensive, with no guaranteed outcome. Even if you file a lawsuit in court and your case begins litigation, it is still likely that your case will be settled  during negotiations, mediation, or arbitration.

Even if your case goes to trial, you still may not be required to testify. Your attorney will help determine whether your testimony is necessary based on the specifics of your case.

When You May Need to Testify

While most personal injury cases are settled without the need for trial testimony, there are situations where your testimony may become necessary, including:

  • Disputed Liability: If the defendant disputes liability, meaning they deny responsibility for your injuries, your testimony may be essential to establish the defendant’s negligence. Your account of the incident and its circumstances can be crucial for demonstrating what occurred and .
  • Severity of Injuries: If there is a dispute about the extent and severity of your injuries, your testimony may be needed to provide a firsthand account of your pain, suffering, and the impact of the injuries on your daily life. This can help determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to.
  • Credibility: Sometimes, the defense questions whether the plaintiff is credible. If the defendant’s attorney believes that your version of events is not entirely truthful, they may choose to challenge your credibility in court. In this scenario, you may provide testimony to establish trustworthiness.
  • Cross-examination: If your case goes to trial, the defense will have the opportunity to cross-examine you, which means they can ask you questions to challenge your version of events. Your attorney will prepare you for this and ensure you can respond effectively.

How Your Lawyer Can Help You Prepare To Testify

When the possibility of testifying in a personal injury case arises, your attorney from Joye Law Firm can equip you with the necessary tools and knowledge needed to give effective testimony, including:

  • Preparing for Deposition: Before trial, you may be required to give a deposition. During a deposition, you will answer questions under oath, with a court reporter present to record your responses. Unlike testifying in court, this usually takes place in a lawyer’s office. Your attorney can help you prepare for the deposition by reviewing potential questions so you can respond truthfully and confidently.
  • Trial Preparation: If your case goes to trial, your lawyer can guide you on testifying in court. They can inform you of courtroom procedures, the order of events, and what to expect during cross-examination. This preparation can help reduce anxiety and improve your performance on the witness stand.
  • Establishing Credibility: Your attorney can work with you to establish and maintain your credibility throughout the legal process. They can help you present yourself to the jury as the reliable and trustworthy person you are.
  • Witness Coaching: Your lawyer can help you present your testimony clearly and concisely. For example, they can help advise you on how to maintain a calm demeanor and avoid emotional outbursts, which can harm your case.

Prepare for an Effective Personal Injury Claim with Joye Law Firm

The likelihood of testifying in court is relatively low in personal injury claims, but you may need to testify to protect your rights and seek fair compensation for your injuries.

Joye Law Firm’s trial attorneys have over 300 years of combined experience, and we are ready to put that experience to work in order to maximize your recovery after a devastating injury. If you have questions or concerns about your personal injury claim or require legal representation, contact Joye Law Firm today. Our team can provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the complexities of your personal injury case and seek the settlement you deserve.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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