Some slip and fall cases just do not settle. It could be that there are hotly disputed issues or the insurance company for the negligent party could dig in its heels about settling the case. If this happens to you, your case will be set for trial—most likely with a jury. This is your day in court to tell your story and prove your case. Now that the day has arrived, the reality of testifying in court may be anything but exciting. You may feel downright terrified, which is perfectly normal for many slip and fall victims.
Tips for Being a Good Witness at Your Trial
When you are feeling nervous at court while waiting for your turn to testify, you should take comfort in the fact that all of the witnesses on both sides of your case are probably feeling nervous too. Hopefully, these tips will help calm your nerves and give you the confidence to give the best testimony for your case:
- Tell the truth. While it is always best to tell the truth, this is especially important at your trial where you are testifying under oath. If you cannot recall something, avoid giving a yes or no answer and qualify your answer by saying this is what you recall.
- Answer only the question asked. Listen carefully to the question and answer only what was asked. Do not provide unsolicited information. Make your answers as brief as possible.
- Don’t volunteer information. When answering a question, do not go off on a tangent or volunteer information that was not asked for. You could inadvertently hurt your case. Your attorney has the opportunity to question you about everything he believes is important to your case.
- Answer helpful questions fully. If you are certain your answer will hurt the defense’s position or help yours, you may want to give a detailed answer. For example, if you are asked how your injuries limit your day-to-day activities, you would want to be as specific as possible.
- Think about the question. Before you answer any question, think about it and organize your answer a bit before answering.
- Approximation rule. You may want to use the word “approximately” when answering date, time, speed, or distance questions. This would be something to discuss with your attorney to see how he wants you to handle this type of question.
- Never guess at an answer. You never want to guess an answer. If you do not know the answer, say so.
- Two words to avoid. In general, it is best not to use these words when testifying: always and never.
- Wait for the question. Avoid answering a question before the attorney finishes asking it to be certain you understand it and do not look rude by interrupting him.
- Ask if you don’t understand. If you do not understand a question, ask the attorney to repeat the question or explain what he is asking.
Your attorney should thoroughly prepare you for your testimony. He will have additional tips to follow on testifying and how to dress for court. Be certain to follow them to make your testimony go as smoothly as possible.
Were you or a family member injured in a slip and fall accident? At Jones Wilson Injury Lawyers, our experienced legal team has a reputation for not backing down when settlement offers are unfair. Call us at 866-299-0558 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can assist you.