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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

How Witnesses in Personal Injury Claims Work | Behind the Scenes!

To recover compensation in a personal injury case, the injured victim must prove to the judge/jury or the defendant's insurance company that the at-fault party's negligence resulted in their injuries. An expert witness is one of the most essential pieces of evidence that the affected party can use. However, finding the right one and preparing them for trial can be challenging.

The reputable personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Carl Maltese have successfully represented many injured victims and recovered over $150 million in compensatory damages. They understand the importance of introducing witnesses and can help the affected parties in Long Island, New York, fight for the justice and compensation they deserve.

What Is the Difference Between an Expert and a Lay Witness in a Personal Injury Case?

What Is the Difference Between an Expert and a Lay Witness in a Personal Injury Case?

In personal injury cases, two types of witnesses can help bolster a claim or lawsuit, and these include the following:

Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are professionals who have the right education, experience, and skill set to provide an opinion on a matter pertaining to their specific field in personal injury claims or lawsuits. These are people who did not see the accident happen with their own eyes but can offer factual information.

Before testifying in court, the expert witness must go through their qualifications to let the jury know that they are the right professionals to talk on the issue at hand. A psychiatrist, for example, may be able to testify to the victim's physical and mental health and help explain the impact of the injuries on their life.

It's important to understand that an expert witness is not personally involved in a case and is only there to give an objective opinion by presenting the facts. Typically, they receive payment for providing their expertise and preparing for the trial.

Lay Witnesses (Also Called Eye Witnesses)

Unlike expert witnesses, who have the qualifications, expertise, and skills to provide an objective opinion on a particular matter, lay witnesses are individuals who can testify by providing their accounts of the incident.

A lay witness's testimony is only admissible in court if they have witnessed (seen or heard) the incident. In an effort to prove the victim's pain and suffering, an attorney may introduce some members of the family who can let the jury know the impact of the accident on the victim's life.

Examples of Expert Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case

When a personal injury claim goes to trial, there are different types of expert witnesses that the attorney may introduce in the case. These may include the following:

  • Medical experts

  • Engineers

  • Economic experts

  • Vocational specialists

  • Psychiatrists or psychologists

An expert witness testimony can strengthen a case. It's important for injured victims to work with an experienced personal injury law firm, as they can help introduce skilled professionals to provide their opinion on a particular matter.

Examples of Lay Witnesses in a Personal Injury Case

When pursuing a personal injury claim, the victim may introduce some individuals who can provide witness testimony in their favor. These are people who can testify based on their perceptions of the incident rather than their experience or knowledge.

Some examples of lay witnesses include the following:

  • The victim's spouse or family members

  • Coworkers

  • Employers

  • Care professionals

  • Bystanders at the accident site

How Does an Attorney Find a Lay or Expert Witness for a Personal Injury Case?

Whether it's fighting cases in personal injury trials or filing claims against the negligent party's insurance company, an experienced attorney has the resources and skills to help find witnesses.

A skilled attorney has a list of expert witnesses that they use when pursuing an injury claim or lawsuit. The lawyer may reach out to medical experts, for example, to help paint the picture of the victim's physical and mental state for the jury or the defendant and their insurance company.

Finding lay witnesses is more challenging than identifying expert witnesses. An experienced personal injury attorney may use photos and videos from CCTV or nearby traffic cameras to help identify people at the accident site. They may also access police records to determine potential eyewitnesses.

How Witnesses in Personal Injury Claims Work

When a personal injury claim heads to court, the attorney may call witnesses one by one to the stand. They will start asking them predetermined questions to help create a convincing story that the jury can relate to. This stage is often referred to as direct examination.

During this stage of the lawsuit, the personal injury attorney will ensure that the jury and the entire court clearly understand the answers the witnesses provide. After asking their questions, they may return to their seat and let the defendant's lawyer take over.

The defendant's lawyer can start questioning the witnesses. This is often referred to as cross-examination. It can be a stressful stage for the witness to go through, which is why the plaintiff's attorney will take their time in helping them prepare and practice.

Once the defendant's lawyer gets done questioning the witnesses, the plaintiff's attorney can ask follow-up questions (also referred to as re-direct).

Witness statements can play an essential role in determining the outcome of a case. An experienced personal injury attorney may have the necessary resources and connections to introduce witnesses and help improve the victim's chances of recovering compensation. They can give details on how witnesses can help your personal injury claim.

How to Prepare the Witnesses for Personal Injury Trials

Appearing in court in the presence of a jury can be nerve-racking, even for experienced professionals. A skilled personal injury attorney can help prepare the witnesses by handing them a set of questions they will be asking them at the stand. The witness can keep practicing until the day of the trial.

Since the defendant's attorney will also be asking questions, the plaintiff's lawyer will go over potential questions the other side may ask with the witnesses they're planning to introduce in court. This can help create a compelling testimony, increasing the victim's chances of obtaining compensation.

The Law Office of Carl Maltese

The Law Office of Carl Maltese

Whether it is a car accident or a medical malpractice claim, The Law Office of Carl Maltese has extensive experience gathering the necessary evidence and preparing the witnesses to bolster a personal injury case.

Those who have suffered injuries in an accident in Long Island, New York, should call to schedule a free consultation with the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Carl Maltese. They can help investigate the site where the accident happened, find the right witnesses, and aggressively fight for the compensation the victim deserves.


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