Witnesses are people who come to court to tell what they have seen or heard. These people should either be witnesses who saw what happened or experts on the subject matter of the claim involved.
Before you bring any witnesses to your trial, discuss the case with potential witnesses who have personal knowledge of the case, and decide who can provide evidence in your favor.
Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you may bring witnesses to your trial to support your story.
A subpoena is a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony regarding a certain matter.
An expert witness is someone who because of their education, training, skill or experience has more knowledge about a particular subject than the average person.
Examples of possible expert witnesses are:
- Automobile mechanics
- Automobile body workers
The Best Witnesses
Bring witnesses only if you know they will support you. Witnesses who aren't friends or relatives may be more effective in proving your case. If your only witnesses are friends or family, you should still bring them but ask them to present themselves in a professional manner, be objective and not be emotional.
Talk to Witnesses Before Hearing
Always talk your witnesses before trial. Your witnesses may not see or interpret the facts in the same way that you do, or they may have forgotten some of the important details.
Decide the order in which you will call your witnesses. During the proceedings, the judge may ask questions of any witness.
Don't Interrupt Witness Testimony
Even if you think information provided by a witness is inaccurate, don't interrupt a witness to clarify the information. Make notes about the information you believe is inaccurate. You will be given an opportunity to address those issues before the end of the proceeding.
Interrupting is proper only when you believe you have an allowable objection, such as claiming that a witness doesn't have direct knowledge of the case or is relying on hearsay, which is testimony that relates to what others have said, not to what the witness personally knows.
Questions for Your Attorney
- Do I need to have witnesses?
- Can a witness testify by telephone?
- What can I do if one of my witnesses changed their story and ended up telling lies during my hearing?