Giving Evidence in Court?
Have you ever been asked to give evidence as a witness for a personal injury/clinical negligence claim? Evidence may be required in a case where someone has been injured in an accident to show how the injuries have affected them, or, as someone’s employer, you may be asked to explain how they coped before they were injured and what the differences are since they were injured or even to explain why they cannot cope with their job anymore? Please do try to do so if you are asked.
Few would relish the thought of going to court in such circumstances, as you would be cross examined by a skilful barrister for the defence. It also takes valuable time out of your busy day and whilst you should be reimbursed for your expenses and proven reasonable loss of earnings, is it really worth it? Many people refuse to get involved.
We have a justice system where people’s evidence is tested to make sure that they can prove their case and the evidence of family, friends and work colleagues is often the key evidence in the case. Standing up for someone and explaining what you have observed to corroborate their evidence is sometimes the key to the court finding that the case has been proved.
If a Claimant can no longer carry out their job/profession because say they sustained a brain injury, they have to prove that they have mitigated their loss (which means kept their losses to a minimum) and done their best to keep their job. An employer’s evidence to prove the Claimant’s character and performance before the accident and to show all the problems since the accident is critical as the Claimant in their injured state may not have the ability to fully explain what has happened.
I have recently run a long trial in the Royal Courts of Justice in London where a former employer of my client stood up for him and vividly explained what he was like before he was injured and explained how bright his prospects were. Two employers from after the accident showed how he had tried desperately to manage his role, but sensitively showed how this was not successful and gave examples to illustrate why and prove that it was linked to his injury. His family did the same with dignity and honesty. Justice was done and all the witnesses’ evidence played a huge part in this.
Claire Watson. Partner & Head of personal injuryGeneral, George Ide, News, Personal Injury Blog