Role of Witnesses in Raleigh Personal Injury Cases
When you file a claim with insurance, as an experienced Raleigh personal injury attorney can tell you, you will likely need to name any witnesses and may even need to include a direct statement from them. The insurance adjuster could follow up by asking for the contact information of these witnesses.
If the person who filed the insurance claim doesn’t want to give out the witnesses’ information, that is going to appear suspicious, and taking down witness’ names will do nothing for a claim unless adjusters can talk to those people.
With that said, if a witness asks you to keep their information private, be sure to let the adjuster know about this request (a witness can demand that they be the one to call the adjuster, not the other way around, so as to keep their number private.)
If a Witness Won’t Talk to You
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this without a lawsuit and official subpoena. If the witness won’t voice their story, then they will be no help at all in your case.
If a Witness is Willing to Talk
They have a great deal of control over how the communication will happen.
- Again, they can keep their number private if they want.
- They can refuse to issue a statement in writing.
- They can reject an in-person meeting.
- They can ask for the interview to not be recorded.
Your witness can keep back as much personal information as they wish, and they don’t have to revisit the scene of the accident with anyone involved in the case. A witness also does not have to sign off on anything, not if they don’t want to. After a witness has had an interview with an adjuster, they don’t have to repeat themselves or speak to any other person from the insurer.
What You Can’t Tell The Witness to do
It is entirely the witness’ choice to speak with insurance or not. You cannot tell them to withhold information, or to feed them statements that you want highlighted. Your witness needs to be able to truthfully say that he or she was not coached on how to respond to the adjuster’s interview.
Of course, you are allowed to speak about the case with this person, and you can say what you think the important pieces of evidence in your case are. In fact, there should be no trouble at all if the witness says in the interview that your discussion took place, but you absolutely cannot instruct a witness on what he or she should say.
Expert witnesses are a second category of witness that can play a major role in a personal injury case. An expert witness is someone who by virtue of their knowledge, education, training, and experience, has specialized knowledge which will help the jury understand an issue that is in controversy in a case. A personal injury lawyer will routinely use expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts, vocational rehabilitation experts, biomechanical engineers, economists, and medical experts, in order to persuade the jury of certain beneficial facts. They will do this so that the witnesses can apply their expertise in their area of specialty to explain various aspects of the claim to a jury.
Becoming an Expert Witness
There is not any one test for becoming an expert witness. Under the rules it just has to be by virtue of knowledge, experience, education, and training. So in some contexts expert witnesses are PhDs or hold professional licenses or certificates. In other situations, it may be somebody who has worked in their field for an extended period of time, and by virtue of that has acquired some specialized knowledge.
Benefits of a Lawyer With Expert Witness Connections
An experienced lawyer with good witness connections will have the ability to know when it is appropriate to bring in an expert witness to help explain something to a jury. If someone has been practicing law for a while, they will have developed relationships and rapport with certain experts, and they can ask other lawyers in the field for a recommendation when a unique situation comes up.The lawyer can consult with other lawyers and get a good referral to an expert witness.
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Raleigh
If you want more than tips for your personal injury claim, if you want experienced legal advice, you can find the reliable legal advocate you need at the Whitley Law Firm. With nearly four decades of experience serving the people of North Carolina, our Raleigh personal injury attorneys have the proven dedication to skillfully handle your case. It’s free to find out if we can help you, so do not hesitate to get your free case review as soon as possible, before your case expires.