Trial Witness Preparation – What Lawyers Recommend

by | Published on Feb 5, 2020 | Medical Review Services

Witnesses and their statements play a key role in proving any legal case – civil or criminal. Thorough preparation of the witness provides more opportunity for lawyers to win the case. Lawyers have to educate their clients and witnesses on how things in court really work and prepare them accordingly. While attorneys focus on trial preparation, reliable medical review services can ensure successful assimilation of all medical data relevant to the case.

While preparing expert witnesses for trial, lawyers can recommend the following:

Review pleadings and discovery

The witness must review the case from the very beginning to have a clear knowledge and this helps to organize the testimony and improve the testimonial reliability. Opposing parties may utilize the complaint given to organize their questions and determine their trial strategy. Also, understand the opposing parties’ position and review the answer and defenses. At the same time, lawyers must take effort to narrow the arguments at trial to as few as possible, as this helps to limit the material a witness needs to be prepared for. Also review the discovery, as any answers given in response to discovery can limit the witness testimony at trial. Witnesses must also be aware of any other deposition testimonies given, as inconsistency between testimony at deposition and testimony at trial may be fatal to witness credibility.

Take part in attorney-witness preparation meeting

Regular meetings between the attorney and the witness are necessary as early as possible before the trial, as they must work together to win the case. Both have varied experience and sharing this experience will help them determine what to expect at trial. Meetings help the witness to be informed on the status of the case and of the opposing counsel.Try to conduct second preparation meeting just prior to trial, as it is likely that all documents will be fully identified and a trial strategy will be developed by this time. Discuss the answers for all expected questions and share the knowledge and final details gained during preparation. The witness must be aware of the missing documents or information. Attorney-witness preparation meeting helps in identifying what documents will be the most useful in their testimony. Often, the witness has knowledge of the corporate documents and the ability to access them for trial testimony. It is crucial that the initial attorney-witness preparation call should be held as early as possible, as this helps to discover documents early and the witness will knew what documents are available as evidence and what are not.

Listen carefully and answer

Witnesses must be taught to answer the opposing counsel’s question with great care, only after hearing the entire question. They should never interpret the attorney with an answer before knowing exactly what is being asked. Such testimonies will be recorded for evidence and any disturbance or interruption could cause confusion later. Also advice them not to answer any question that isn’t clear or causes confusion. If the witness didn’t understand the question, they should tell the judge that the question is not clear. In such cases, opposing counsel then re-word the question to make it easily understandable. And while answering, witnesses must be careful not to explain the answer too much. This may lead to more and more questions from attorneys.

Answer in a calm way and don’t argue

Even if the attorneys try to provoke anger in a witness, the witness must be trained to stay calm. Even if the opposing counsel argues, the witness should not. Also, they must remain serious and not joke in the court. They must be patient and careful of the words used and avoid any derogatory language. Answers given must also be consistent with any earlier statements made in the case. Reviewing earlier writings, statements and testimonies carefully will add more credibility in the trial.

In any legal case, if trial is required, preparation is crucial for the attorney and witness to work as a team. The services provided by medical record retrieval companies help legal entities to retrieve medical records, organize and analyze them for the case.

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