Trial Process (Part 3) – Preparing Your Testimony

Derek Reams, a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with McCue, Reams and Associates recently completed a four part video series on some of the finer parts of the civil trial process here in the state of Florida. The following are some excerpts from Part 3 – Preparing Your Testimony.

During the examination process our client of course will be testifying. The preparation for this testimony actually begins at the accident scene which may have occurred several months or even several years before the trial itself has started. Preparation is extremely important in any case and your case is no different. The jury for the first time is going to hear from you and what you’ve gone through during the last several months for several years since you were injured.

Because trials are limited in the number of days that the jury will be there to listen to the case, we have to try to cram in two or three or four years worth of information into an hour to two hours worth of testimony. This can be very difficult but also can be a great way to hit the high points and explain to the jury exactly what you’ve gone through. So I want to talk with you for a few minutes about how you can prepare for your testimony during the trial of your case.

During the litigation phase which leads up to the trial of any case, things like depositions are taken, mediation, and what’s called discovery. This is where the attorneys exchange information that he or she may possess regarding the details of the case. These things are extremely important during the preparation phase of your trial. The deposition, which is done before a court reporter and is taken under oath, can be used during the trial of your case.

The first thing you’ll want to do in preparation for the trial of your case is to read all deposition transcripts that you have given. The next thing you will want to do is look through all potential evidence that we may be using during the trial of your case. As well as all potential evidence the defense may be using during the trial of your case. This is extremely important because the jury is not going to hear only your side; they’re going to hear the side from the defense attorney as well.

To give you a good example; oftentimes people have a low back injury in a motor vehicle accident. If you’ve had prior low back injuries and prior treatment for those low back injuries, this is information the insurance company wants presented to the jury in an effort to convince them to not award you money during your trial.

So, the way to overcome that potential pitfall is for us to present the information ourselves during the examination phase. You’ll be asked certain questions by us, as your attorney. If you’ve had prior injuries to your low back or other body parts, it’s important for you to explain to the jury, “yes, you have”, if that’s the case and what the circumstances around those previous injuries were. This way the jury can know the severity of your prior injuries and equally important, they know you’re telling the truth and they’re much more inclined to believe the rest of your story if they know you’re telling the truth about prior history and prior medical conditions.

We want to know everything that may be presented during the trial of your case, so that you know what to expect once the trial itself begins. In addition, we will actually put you through a cross examination and direct examination. The reason we do this is so our client is comparable about what to expect once the trial begins and knows not only the type of questions that you might be asked, but also the type of answers to give to this respective questions.

The little details oftentimes can make or break the trial of your case. These little things are extremely important for you to be aware of, and which is what we are here to help you with.

If you would like to view this podcast or any of the other free podcasts we have produced regarding personal injury law and your rights you can visit us on iTunes.

The next segment of Attorney Reams’ discussion of the trial process centers on Closing Arguments and Jury Deliberations.

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