Spin article for PI Blog 57B

Confronting the credibility of a forgetful witness

In some personal injury cases, witnesses my try and protect a defendant by claiming not to remember important aspects of a case. If a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville is concerned that a witness is giving false testimony, there are several tactics that he or she can use to challenge the witness’s credibility. A common response given by witnesses is, “I don’t remember.” This can present a challenge for a lawyer, particularly if the witness cannot remember information that is critical to the case.

Following are some approaches that a lawyer may use to challenge the credibility of a witness:

If the witness is claiming not to remember facts regarding a pivotal issue in the case, the lawyer may establish the fact that the witness is forming a pattern of giving the answer, “I don’t remember,” when questioned about the critical issue.

A personal injury lawyer in Jacksonville might point out that the witness is capable of recalling other events that happened in the distant past, but is claiming not to be able to remember details regarding the issue at hand.

The attorney may draw attention to the fact that a witness is able to recall details that are insignificant, but cannot remember the critical particulars.

Discrediting a witness

A lawyer might be able to discredit a forgetful witness by posing questions that would make it hard for a witness to claim that he or she conveniently recalled the information. For example, a witness might state that he or she reviewed some documents that refreshed his or her memory.

To avoid this possibility, the lawyer could offer to present documents to the witness that could help to jog his or her memory at the deposition. If the witness states that there are no such documents, then later, the witness could not make the claim that documents helped to restore his or her memory. A lawyer can use the opportunity presented by a forgetful witness to offer testimony about the issue on behalf of the plaintiff.

From forgetful witnesses, to insurers who act in bad faith, there are many potential pitfalls in a personal injury case. An experienced personal injury lawyer may have the knowledge of these tactics and can help a plaintiff avoid these pitfalls and obtain the best possible settlement.

There are many things that a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville can do on behalf of a plaintiff in a personal injury case. In addition to dealing with forgetful or dishonest witnesses, an attorney can help a plaintiff prepare for trial, negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement and provide legal counsel. To schedule a confidential appointment, please call the office of injury lawyer John Fagan at 904-278-1000.

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