Eyewitnesses are very important when liability is an issue. This is because passers-by can help authorities determine who is to blame for an accident. Thus, if you intend to make a personal injury claim after an accident, getting the names and contact information of eyewitnesses is imperative. But, getting witnesses on your side is not enough to obtain the compensation you deserve. For this, someone must carefully prepare witness evidence. That someone is usually a personal injury solicitor. This professional follows the next two steps to prepare witness evidence for your case:
- Examination-in-chief – Examination-in-chief is a method that focuses on eliciting from witnesses all the facts supporting a case. During this process, eyewitnesses are required to refresh their memory based on various documents and photographs from the scene. Although all witnesses must be called before the close of the prosecution case, there are circumstances when prosecution can call eyewitnesses to give testimonies subsequently. This is usually done when the victim considers that important evidence has been omitted.
- Cross-examination and re-examination – After witnesses give testimonies, the advocate of the other party may decide to cross-examine them. Typically, this happens when testimonies are contradictory or inaccurate, or when the accident is entirely the defendant’s fault. If the advocate representing the accused decides not to question the eyewitnesses, their initial testimonies are usually accepted by the court.
If cross-examination takes place, your advocate may re-examine witnesses to clarify matters debated during the cross-examination procedure. The court can also call witnesses for cross-examination. In this case, the representatives of the two parties have a right to re-examine witnesses. Relevant documents, including testimonies, must be disclosed by both parties.
Witness testimonies together with your medical records can help the court determine if you had suffered serious, long-standing health issues due to the accident. If your medical records are inconsistent, you may lose even if witness testimonies favour you.
Additionally, your testimony may seem exaggerated, especially if it is not supported by a detailed medical report. In this case, it will most probably be attacked by the defence attorney. In case that your medical records do not paint a complete picture as to how the injuries have affected your life, you should ask your doctor, a family member, or an acquaintance who knows all the details to give testimony. To find out more about how to use witness testimony to your advantage, feel free to contact the specialists working at the Accident Advice Helpline.
Getting rightful compensation
Eyewitness testimony can help you get rightful compensation. To make sure that you will obtain the compensation you are entitled to, keep a full record of the expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, including the cost of travel involved in obtaining medical treatment, the cost of medical treatment, and the expenses incurred by your family members travelling to visit you during the recovery period.
Additionally, you must know that claims for accident compensation must comply with specific regulations. Thus, approaching a professional who knows the UK legislation is imperative to reassure yourself that your claim complies with the law. An experienced advocate is able to explain different aspects of filing a personal injury claim, regardless of whether it is related to a road traffic accident, tripping accident, slip and fall, assault, accident at work, or holiday accident.
Date Published: September 24, 2013
Author: David Brown