The reason why witnesses are essential in a personal injury case is that they are in a unique position to provide information unavailable through other means. They may have knowledge about what happened based on what they saw, their education and experience, or steps they took to better understand the case.
Some types of cases even require expert witnesses before moving forward through the courts. This is true in Texas for medical malpractice cases. Witnesses also often play a significant role in proving traffic accidents, premises liability, and more.
Witnesses Help Prove What Happened
Eyewitnesses could play a central role in the investigation into an incident and injuries. This is very common in the law enforcement investigation of a traffic accident, for example. Police officers who respond to the crash scene will interview eyewitnesses to determine what happened and who is legally responsible.
If we manage a personal injury case, we try to identify witnesses and interview them about what they saw. In some instances, we can speak to someone police did not or get information from a witness that law enforcement did not. This could allow us to prove negligence and liability against the at-fault party.
This is why we encourage injury victims to get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to their incident. It makes it easier for us to interview them, develop a stronger case, and pursue compensation on our client’s behalf.
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Witnesses May Testify on the Value of the Case
In many cases where injuries are long-lasting or catastrophic, the victim and their family may face months or years of future treatment or ongoing care and support costs. When this occurs, our attorneys must determine the value of their expenses even though they have not yet occurred. To do this, they must understand:
- The prognosis
- The likely recommended treatment
- The cost of this treatment
- How the cost may change with time
The only way to learn this information is to discuss it with those who understand their injuries, the treatment plan, and the costs associated with similar injuries. This either requires working closely with the client’s doctor or calling in an expert witness who can analyze their medical records and use their own knowledge and experience to help us understand the value of the case.
Examples include doctors, medical specialists, and economists.
Some Types of Personal Injury Cases Require Witnesses
In some cases, we may be legally required to work with experts to help prove a case. For example, in medical malpractice lawsuits, Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Chapter 74 requires an expert affidavit—a sworn written statement—before the case can move forward.
This is necessary because attorneys, judges, and jurors are unlikely to have the necessary knowledge to understand the expected standard of care, if the doctor acted negligently, or other key details of the case. Having an expert witness testify about what should have happened versus what did happen can affect a case significantly.
In medical malpractice cases, we must work with an expert witness who has a similar background as the doctor in question, including:
- Experience in practice
- Local area
We have a strong network of medical experts we can call in to help us prove these cases for our clients, including specialists who are knowledgeable about many areas of medical practice.
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Building a Case With Witness Testimony
As a part of building a claim for our clients, we interview as many witnesses as possible. This includes eyewitnesses who saw the incident and injuries occur, experts who conduct accident reconstructions and other investigative efforts, and those who help us prove the case with their education and experience.
While Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 usually only gives us two years to sue on behalf of a client in a personal injury or wrongful death case, this is not the only reason why we need to act quickly. Witnesses’ memories often fade quickly. In addition, people move, change their phone numbers, and sometimes become unwilling to cooperate with an investigation. The more time passes, the more likely these factors become.
When we know about a case early on and can begin to interview witnesses right away, we have a better chance of getting the information we need to prove your case. This also gives us more time to identify and interview expert witnesses as needed.
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Speak With an Attorney From Loncar Lyon Jenkins for Free
At Loncar Lyon Jenkins, we provide free consultations for accident victims and their families. One of our team members will discuss your case with you at no cost. Our attorneys also represent clients based on contingency. We may be able to help injured parties or those who lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence.
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Call or text 877-239-4878 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form