In personal injury cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will look for every excuse in the book to limit its liability exposure. If your personal injury case ultimately does not settle but goes to trial, witness testimony is extremely important. The purpose of a jury trial is to tell the jury a story about why you are entitled to recover monetary compensation. Consequently, favorable witness testimony can go a long way in helping you obtain a favorable jury award in your personal injury case.
Witness testimony typically consists of lay witness testimony and expert witness testimony. Lay witnesses are individuals who do not have any specialized knowledge, education, or training related to the subject of their testimony. They can testify about their actual observations before, during, and after an accident.
On the other hand, expert witnesses do have specialized knowledge, training, or experience about certain issues in the case. Expert witnesses in accident cases may include accident reconstructions, medical specialists, economists, or vocational rehabilitation experts. Experts use their specialized knowledge and apply it to the facts and circumstances of a personal injury case. They may also be able to use their specialized knowledge and apply it to hypothetical scenarios pertaining to the accident victim and his or her injuries and damages.
If you have sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you need experienced legal counsel on your side. The St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group are experienced negotiators and trial lawyers. If your case proceeds forward to trial, our lawyers can retain the necessary experts and prepare all witnesses to make a favorable presentation at trial.
Accident Victims, Friends, and Family Members
One of the most important witnesses to testify at trial is the accident victim. The accident victim can testify firsthand about how the accident happened, as well as the injuries, symptoms, and damages he or she sustained in the accident. The goal is for the accident victim to come across as a sympathetic witness to whom the jury can relate when deliberating and rendering a verdict in the case.
In cases where liability may be in dispute, eyewitnesses to the accident including passengers in the vehicles involved may offer valuable testimony. They can testify about:
- The approximate speeds and directions of vehicles
- Weather, temperature, and visibility conditions at the accident scene
- Traffic conditions
- A driver’s behavior before and after the accident, such as if a driver appeared intoxicated.
Other observations such as the color of traffic lights or pedestrian signals and the presence or absence of signs and other traffic control devices at the accident scene.
Finally, family members, friends, and co-workers may be able to offer valuable testimony at trial about how the accident has affected the victim’s life. For example, a family member or co-worker may be able to testify about certain personal or work activities which the accident victim can no longer do – but that he or she could do without any problem before the accident.
In cases where an insurance company is disputing liability, one of the most important expert witnesses is an accident reconstructionist. An accident reconstructionist can go back to the scene of an accident, review police reports and other documentation, and piece together the puzzle of how an accident likely occurred. An accident reconstructionist may also be able to approximate the speeds of vehicles involved in the accident, the directions of those vehicles, momentums, and stopping distances.
An accident reconstructionist’s testimony is especially important in cases where there were no eyewitnesses to the accident. They may be able to create a chart, develop a model, or render a computer image or computer generated video of how the accident likely occurred.
Expert Medical Providers
Expert medical providers can render important testimony in a personal injury case when it comes to causation, damages, and the need for future medical procedures. First, an expert medical provider may be able to testify that the accident directly caused the accident victim’s injuries and symptoms. This testimony can be helpful if the insurance company is blaming the accident victim’s injuries and damages on preexisting medical conditions or injuries.
In cases of permanent injury or impairment, an expert medical provider may be able to testify about the permanency of the victim’s injuries and how long the symptoms are expected to continue. The medical provider may also be able to testify about the limitations that the accident victim will likely suffer as a result of the injuries and damages sustained.
Finally, an expert medical provider may be able to testify about the need for any future medical procedures, such as surgeries, and their approximate cost.
Economists and Vocational Rehabilitation Experts
In many accident cases, injured accident victims claim that they missed time from their work, resulting in lost wages. In serious injury cases, the accident victim may even need to change jobs or switch careers entirely because of the injuries they sustained in the accident. In the worst cases, the accident victim may be rendered unable to work at all because of the injuries sustained.
An economist or vocational rehabilitation expert may be able to calculate past lost wages, including work time missed for attending medical and physical therapy appointments, along with any future lost wages, and present this testimony at trial. Moreover, a vocational rehabilitation expert may be able to compare an injured worker’s pre and post-accident positions and salaries and come to a figure representing a reduction in that person’s earning power.
Call a St. Petersburg, Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
The decision about whether to take an injury case to trial is a very personal one that you should discuss with your attorney. If you do decide to take your case to trial, favorable witness testimony – both lay and expert – can go a long way in maximizing your recovery.
The St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group may be able to represent you in your case all the way up through trial. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Florida personal injury lawyer, please call us today at (727) 222-6922, or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712