There are witnesses to almost every personal injury. It’s very rare that a person gets hurt while nobody is around. This is usually a good thing. Sometimes, the only way to prove that you were in an accident at all is to have a witness tell the court what they saw.
So, it can be more than frustrating when a witness is reluctant to testify. Some witnesses refuse outright. They want absolutely nothing to do with your lawsuit. And this is understandable. They gain nothing by getting involved.
Imagine that you witnessed someone get hurt. You don’t know them or the person responsible for their injuries. The last thing you’re going to want to do is go to court and testify about what happened.
The good news is, your Augusta personal injury lawyer has ways of getting a witness to testify. The bad news is that nobody likes to be forced to do this. You have to hope that they’ll still give a true version of what really happened.
What Possible Witnesses Can You Rely On?
No matter what kind of personal injury you suffer, odds are, someone saw it happen. There are rare occasions when someone is absolutely alone when they get hurt. But this doesn’t happen very often.
There are different types of witnesses. Some of these include:
- Eye witnesses – These are the people who saw the event happen. In a slip and fall, for instance, they could have been other customers in the story when you fell. In a medical malpractice case, it could be a surgical tech or someone who was in the room when your procedure took place.
- Expert Witnesses – These are people who have spent their careers becoming experts in their field. These experts are almost always willing to testify. This is because your personal injury lawyer in Augusta is paying them to do it.
- Employees of the Defendant – Sometimes, you can be a witness without even being present for the injury. For example, if you’re suing a manufacturer for product liability, you may need to hear from the person who designed the product. They may not be an actual defendant, they may just work for them.
- Family and Friends – You may need to call on your family and friends to testify to your injuries. For example, if you’re demanding pain and suffering, you may need your spouse to testify about how much your life has changed. Hopefully, your family and friends will be willing to help you. It’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t want to stand by you.
In most instances, witnesses will be willing to testify. Even if they’re not thrilled about it, they still show up when they get the notice from the court.
What if a Witness Refuses to Testify?
If a witness refuses to testify on your behalf, your Georgia injury lawyer does have options. Some of them are informal. Your lawyer may talk to them and let them know how important it is that they testify. Or, they let can offer alternate ways of testifying.
Witnesses who don’t want to come to court and testify at trial may have alternate ways of testifying. Some of these include:
- Deposition – You can allow a witness to testify in a conference room with a court reporter present. This takes place prior to trial. It is usually done in an effort to gather evidence to help you negotiate a settlement.
- Affidavit – A witness can sign a written statement telling their version of events. This statement is notarized and can be relied on in court.
If someone still refuses to testify, even with these options, you have a choice to make. You can force them to testify or you can take your chances without them at trial. If you force them to testify, you do so with something called a subpoena.
A subpoena is a court order commanding the witness to come to court and testify. If they don’t cooperate, they can be held in contempt of court. This can cause them to be fined or even sent to jail.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Augusta, Georgia
If you’ve been injured in any sort of accident, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Augusta at Ted A Greve & Associates. They can reach out to any witnesses and try to get them to testify on your behalf. If this doesn’t work, they can apply to the court for a subpoena.
Call today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.