The Importance of a Witness in a Personal Injury Claim
Posted on Friday, August 30th, 2019 at 5:26 pm
A simple accident can have a dramatic impact on your life and finances. If the insurance company or individual responsible does not offer you a fair settlement for your injuries, you may choose to take your case to trial. Witness statements will be essential in helping you establish credibility and prove the facts of your case. There are three key kinds of witnesses — accident witnesses, personal witnesses, and expert witnesses. Each serves a different, but essential, purpose.
Anyone who was present at the time of your injury or accident can testify as to what he or she saw. This may include dangerous conditions, negligent actions, and the simple facts of the incident. Their testimony can help to establish who was at fault for the accident, which is extremely important to your case.
In Georgia, the amount you can collect in your personal injury suit may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. If, for example, you are found to be 20% at fault for a $10,000 accident, you will only be able to collect up to $8,000. It is, therefore, absolutely essential that you find accident witnesses to support your case that you were not at fault.
Your family, friends, and coworkers may also prove to be invaluable witnesses in your personal injury case. Even if they were not present at the time of the accident, these people will have seen the impact of the accident on your physical, mental, and emotional health. They may also be able to provide testimony about your ability to work, helping to prove your claims for pain and suffering as well as lost wages. For example, family and friends can speak to:
- Changes in mood or temperament
- Limited physical abilities as a result of the accident
- Signs of depression or anxiety
- Disturbances in sleep, eating, or other daily patterns
Keep in mind that you will need to be able to show that these changes occurred as a result of the accident, so noticing when the changes began will be important.
Although they are obviously useful in complicated cases, expert witnesses can add credibility to even the simplest of cases. If the accident witnesses are your family and friends who were with you at the time, and your personal witnesses are also people who would typically be considered “on your side,” an expert witness can offer an unbiased opinion supporting your case. Expert witnesses may testify in the areas of:
- Accident reconstruction
- Injury causes
- Impact of injuries
- Economic impacts of the accident
Georgia law dictates that expert testimony must be based on facts and data, using reliable, accepted methods. The expert should also be certified or licensed, if such is available in his or her field. In short, the expert must show all of the signs of being an actual expert in the field before his or her testimony will be allowed.
Contact an Attorney
The experienced attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, a Personal Injury Law Firm can help to build your case by preparing witnesses and filing the appropriate paperwork. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.