Can Your Norcross Accident Attorney Force a Witness to Testify?

Accident record on desk of a Norcross accident attorney

One of the reasons our Norcross accident lawyers like to meet with potential clients is to see if their claim has merit. Even if you feel you have a strong case, your attorney needs to review the information first. If there is no physical evidence available, they may have to rely on people who witnessed the crash.

Many Witnesses Don’t Want to Get Involved in Your Case

Even if there were people who witnessed your accident, that doesn’t mean they’ll want to get involved. Our Norcross accident attorneys sometimes have a hard time convincing a stranger to testify on your behalf.

The good news is that the courts in Georgia do have mechanisms in place to help in situations like this. While it’s never ideal, there are ways your Norcross accident lawyer can compel a witness to tell the courts what they know.

Rules of Civil Procedure Do Offer Several Discovery Options

The legislature understands that there are times when a witness will be reluctant to get involved in your case. After all, there’s a good chance the witness is a total stranger. Even if they were a passenger in the defendant’s car, they wouldn’t want to help you win your case.

The good news is that there are rules spelled out in the Georgia Code that help Norcross accident attorneys deal with unwilling witnesses. Some of these tools include:

  • Affidavits
  • Depositions
  • Interrogatories

Your Norcross Accident Lawyer Can Attempt to Get the Witnesses to Sign an Affidavit

In some cases, it may suffice to get a witness to write an official statement about what they saw. If they are not able to attend the trial for some reason, the court may allow them to provide a signed affidavit instead.

An affidavit is interesting because it works just like testifying. The only difference is that the affiant does not have to attend court. They are also not subjected to questions or interruptions like they are during a deposition.

You Also Have the Option of Deposing a Witness or Party to the Case

Georgia Code §9-11-32 gives the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit the option of deposing a witness or party to the case. The difference between a deposition and other forms of discovery is that it requires the witness’ in-person appearance.

Once you decide that you need to depose a witness, you will have to schedule a time to do it. You will have to provide the witness with a reasonable place to meet. You will also have to arrange for a court reporter to record what takes place.

Interrogatories Are a Useful Tool When You Need Written Responses

There are times when it isn’t practically or economically feasible to conduct a deposition. For example, if the witness only has a few things to say about the crash, it may be accomplished in some other way.

Interrogatories are usually sufficient if the person completing them was a witness rather than a party to the case. Interrogatories are questions the witness is asked to answer in writing.

It’s important to note that there is a limit to how many questions and sub-parts your Norcross accident attorney can ask. Beyond this, a witness can complain that they are overwhelmed or feel forced to answer questions they don’t have the answers to.

There Are Other Ways to Introduce a Witness’ Statement

An accident attorney watching a witness sign an affidavit

There are some situations where, no matter what you do, you won’t be able to compel a witness to testify. However, there are other ways to introduce their statements at trial. For example, an eyewitness may have posted a video of the crash on social media.

Also, if there was a passenger in the other driver’s vehicle, they may have provided an official statement to the police or insurance company. Your Norcross accident attorney has every right to see that information.

A Passenger or Other Witness May Have Issued a Statement to the Police or the Insurance Company

If the witness did make a statement to the police, it should be included in the police report. Your Norcross accident lawyer will have access to this early on. Any statements made by the parties to the crash or witnesses should be contained therein.

Your Norcross Accident Attorney Can Also Review Social Media Posts

Your Norcross accident lawyer may find comments or posts on social media that are pertinent to your case. This information is not only very useful, but it is also admissible in court.

Your Norcross accident attorney will have to make note that the defendant’s lawyer will be looking for the same thing. This is why we always warn our clients to avoid social media until their case is settled.

Your Norcross Accident Lawyer Just Wants to Help Settle Your Case

The ultimate purpose of using witnesses is to help settle your case. Your Norcross accident attorney understands that your case will likely settle. However, in order to get you as much money as possible, they’ll need this evidence.

When the insurance adjuster finds out that you have multiple people willing to testify that their client was at fault, they may be willing to settle. This is especially true if you manage to get the defendant’s passenger to help your client.

You Need Evidence and Ammunition to Convince the Defendant to Settle

The only way your Norcross accident attorney will be able to negotiate a settlement is if they have ample ammunition. Every piece of evidence that points to the defendant being at fault will help your chances.

The stronger your evidence becomes, the more likely the defendant will be to settle. If they know you don’t have a leg to stand on, they may file a motion to dismiss. Or they may be willing to settle, but for an underwhelming amount.

Contact a Skilled Norcross Accident Lawyer Today to See if Your Case Is Worth Pursuing

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may deserve compensation for your injuries. It all depends on a few things. If your Norcross accident attorney can prove the defendant was at fault, there’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to damages.

The other thing your Norcross accident attorney must do is prove that you were injured. It isn’t enough that you were involved in a car accident. You must show that you were hurt.

This is why we suggest you call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with an experienced Norcross accident attorney and ask any questions you may have. You can also get an idea of what your case may be worth.

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