Will You Have to Take the Witness Stand in a Car Accident Case?
You will not have to take the witness stand unless your car accident case goes to trial, and even if your case does go to trial, you may not need to provide witness testimony in your case. To help you understand the likelihood of needing to take the witness stand in your car accident case, we want to provide you with more information about the car accident claims process and how it involves (or does not involve) witness testimony.
Auto Insurance Claims Do Not Require Courtroom Witnesses
Many car accident cases in Las Vegas, Nevada and elsewhere in the country will begin with the injured party filing an auto insurance claim. If another driver was responsible or at fault for the crash that caused your injuries, Nevada auto insurance law will likely allow you to choose between filing a first-party claim and a third-party claim to seek financial compensation. In a first-party claim, you would file an auto insurance claim through your own auto insurance company (even if the other driver is at fault), whereas a third-party accident claim involves filing a claim through the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. There are benefits and limitations to each approach that you should discuss with your Las Vegas car accident lawyer before you file a claim.
Under either scenario, you will not be required to go to court, or to take the witness stand and to testify about the accident. To be clear, in the auto insurance claims process, there is no adversarial proceeding that functions like a courtroom. As such, witnesses do not testify about the car accident or any aspects of the claim. However, you should know that you may be asked to give a statement (or more than one statement) to the auto insurance company.
Other than reporting the initial accident to your own auto insurer and sticking strictly to the facts, you should not provide a statement to the auto insurer until you have an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney representing you. The insurance company may be able to use your statement against you to deny coverage for your losses. Your car accident attorney can help you to handle your statement and to ensure that you do not make any comments that could be construed by the insurance company as an admission of fault.
Witness Testimony and Depositions After You Have Filed a Car Accident Lawsuit in Nevada
When an injury victim cannot obtain fair and reasonable compensation through the auto insurance claims process, the next step is usually to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault party (or parties, in some cases). Once you file a car accident lawsuit, you should be prepared for the possibility of going to trial, at which point you could be required to provide witness testimony on the stand. However, you should know that many car accident lawsuits do not ultimately go to trial. Instead, your lawyer can negotiate a settlement with the defense in order to get you the compensation you need and deserve more quickly, and in order to help you avoid the costs and time associated with taking a case all the way to trial.
Once you file a car accident lawsuit, a trial is not guaranteed, as we mentioned—it may be possible to settle your case. Yet you should prepare for pre-trial processes, including the discovery phase. During discovery, parties typically give depositions. While a deposition will not require you to take the witness stand in a courtroom, you may be required to answer questions, under oath, from the defendant’s lawyer. The Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure govern depositions by oral examination in the state, which simply means that there are specific rules in place that outline how the deposition process works.
Depositions can feel similar to providing witness testimony in court since you can be required to answer questions, recorded and under oath, not unlike witness testimony in a courtroom. However, your lawyer will guide you through this process, and you will not have to provide a deposition before a jury or a judge, or in a formal setting like a courtroom. In many car accident lawsuits, the case does not even reach the discovery phase because the parties negotiate a settlement before moving forward with litigation.
Car Accident Lawsuits Can Require Witness Testimony, But Your Case Might Not Need to Go to Trial
If your case does go to trial, you could be required to take the witness stand in order to provide witness testimony about the car accident. However, even in a car accident lawsuit that goes to trial, it may not be necessary for the injured plaintiff to provide witness testimony to the court. Often, a car accident attorney in Las Vegas can provide evidence—such as police reports or witness testimony from experts such as an accident reconstruction expert—to prove that the defendant was at fault for the collision and should be liable for your injuries.
In the event you do need to take the witness stand, your lawyer will prepare you extremely well ahead of time. You should also keep in mind that your witness testimony would only be one type of evidence that your lawyer would introduce to prove your case. If it is necessary to provide witness testimony, the court will consider your testimony in conjunction with multiple other forms of evidence that go to prove that the defendant caused the car crash and is responsible for resulting damages.
Your lawyer can discuss with you the likelihood of needing your witness testimony, and whether your witness testimony could provide crucial evidence in your car accident lawsuit. You will only be forced to testify in a court case if the court issues a subpoena requiring you to testify. Regardless of whether you take the witness stand in your case, your lawyer will likely rely on many different forms of evidence, including testimony from other parties.
Contact a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance
At Naqvi Injury Law, we focus on car accident cases. We know how critical it is for injury victims to obtain financial compensation after a serious collision, and we will do everything we can to help you understand the process while assisting you in seeking full damages for your losses. If you have questions about filing a car accident claim, or you need representation before providing an official statement about the collision, an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney at our firm is here to assist you. Contact Naqvi Injury Law today to learn more about the services we provide during every stage of the car accident claims process in Nevada.