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Do You Have to Testify at Your Personal Injury Trial?


Recovering from an injury is stressful enough. In addition to managing your pain, you might be juggling bills in an attempt to keep the lights on, especially if you have been too injured to return to work.

At Earnhart Law, we understand how hard it is to make a comeback from a terrible accident. We also know how stressful it can be to go through with a personal injury trial. One question we receive from clients involves whether they will have to testify.

The truth is that our clients might have to testify if the case goes to trial. But there are things a Delray Beach personal injury lawyer can do to avoid a trial in the first place.

No Fifth Amendment Right to Avoid Testifying

You might have seen a Law & Order episode where a person “takes the Fifth” on the witness stand. The Fifth Amendment guarantees a right against self-incrimination, which is where the phrase comes from. Once a person invokes the Fifth Amendment, they do not have to testify.

This rule rarely comes into play in civil cases. For one thing, our clients have been harmed in accidents that are someone else’s fault. Our clients did not commit a crime, so they would not be incriminating themselves by testifying.

You Can Avoid a Trial

One way to avoid having to testify is to settle a claim. Often, this is possible, especially where fault is very clear. If someone T-boned you after running a red light, and all the witnesses agree to that fact, then chances are very high that you can get a settlement. When a case settles before trial, you don’t have to go in and testify.

Of course, sometimes a settlement isn’t possible. There might be a dispute about liability, or the insurance company doesn’t want to offer a fair settlement. In those cases, we will discuss your options with you. However, based on our experience, we are very skilled at making a clear case for liability and settlement.

We Can Prepare You to Testify

If you do have to testify at trial, we will make sure you are well prepared. You won’t be blindsided by any questions, and you should have a good idea of what you will be asked to testify about.

Many of our clients have to give a deposition in their case, which is a lot like testifying. In a deposition, you answer an attorney’s questions under oath with a court reporter present. There are key differences: you are in a conference room, not court, and it less adversarial than at trial. Still, it is good preparation in the event you need to testify in open court.

Second, we always work to make sure our clients are well prepared for any trial. We can go over questions you will likely be asked and give tips for being an effective witness.

At Earnhart Law, we look after our clients’ entire well-being and will always be by your side. For help with your case, please contact us today by calling 561-265-2220. We offer a complimentary consultation.


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