Interviewing the witnesses at the accident spot involves people who are part of the victims and those who are not involved with the accident in any way. People who happened to be present at the spot during the mishap are the third party witnesses. The claimant could recognize a few of them and pass on the information to his lawyer. The lawyer could identify other possible witnesses during the process of investigation. Taking the formal statements from them and recording them for legal use needs to be approved by the court of law. The claimant’s lawyer takes care of this procedure by submitting the list of probable witnesses to the court and taking the permission to present them during the trials.
Types of Witnesses
The system of witness interviews at Parker Waichman office sets some distinct procedures within the framework of personal injury law. Depending on the nature of accident, three types of witnesses could be categorized. In auto, truck and other motor vehicle accidents, the main claimant and the passengers (who also suffered injuries due to the accident) could be the direct witnesses. Independent witnesses are the people who are not involved with the accident, but were present at the site. The policemen who visited the accident spot could also be accounted as witnesses.
- Once the lawyer identifies the witnesses, he takes down their contact and personal details and creates a document. In this he records their statements as narrated by them. he can also take video clippings for verification during the trials. Similarly the defendants will also have their own set of witnesses supporting their claim.
- All the court approved witnesses are presented for examination and cross examination during the trials. The judge/jury takes the final decision for approving their validity or rejecting them, without having to give any explanation to the lawyer of the claimant or the defendant.
- Approving the validity of a witness need not always mean that the jury has accepted their statements to be facts. This could only mean that they were genuinely present at the spot during the accident. Decision about the “truthfulness” of their statements will be taken by the judge/jury by the end of trials, just before delivering the final verdict.
Pleading Stage of the Lawsuit
The claimant and the defendant are expected to complete their formalities of witness interviews and statement recordings before the pleading stage. The final list of witnesses will be presented to the judge and approval taken. Neither can change the witnesses once the trials get started without the explicit permission of the judge.
- Discovery is a process in which the opposing parties need to expose their case presentation and the details of witnesses to the other. They can ask for copies of the documents from each other for verification.
- This process is often referred to by the legal term subpoena. At the end of this procedure the claimant and the defendant parties will be prepared for the trial phase. In many cases this process takes place in front of an authorized person from the court of law to ensure no evidences or witnesses are liquidated or damaged by both the parties.