Taking a personal injury case to trial can be incredibly stressful, and the cross-examination is often the most fear-inducing component. As the plaintiff in the case, you’ll be subjected to cross-examination by the other party’s lawyer in an attempt to discredit you or undermine your claims. When you are trying to win your case, it is perfectly understandable that you would be concerned about the cross-examination. Here’s what you can expect so that you can be prepared to get through it as smoothly as possible.
Know the Details of Your Statement Inside and Out
The opposing attorney will likely want to dig into the details to look for any gaps or holes in your story, so take the time to think through everything carefully before going to trial. Your attorney can advise you of common questions the other lawyer is likely to ask so that you can have strong answers ready. Of course, even the most skilled attorney won’t necessarily be able to predict everything the other attorney will ask, which is why it is so important to have a firm grasp on your testimony.
Stay as Calm as Possible
With many of the questions, the opposing attorney is trying to stress you out, causing you to trip up in giving your answers. The goal of this is to make you appear unreliable as a witness, which can hurt your chances of winning your case. It is important to remember not to take the questions personally so that you can keep your emotions in check. The last thing you want to do is to get angry or agitated on the stand.
Keep Your Answers Brief
The lawyer conducting your cross-examination will be looking for any opportunity to pounce, so keep your answers as brief and as direct as possible. Give “yes” or “no” answers whenever you can, and don’t volunteer any information that wasn’t directly asked for. The attorney may try to lead you down a path that will diminish your claims, so stay true to your original testimony as much as you can.
Stick to the Facts of the Case
In a trial, the verdict should be based on facts, not opinions, so don’t feel pressured to give answers you are unsure of. It is perfectly acceptable to answer with “I don’t know,” or “I don’t recall.” You should avoid offering speculation or opinions whenever possible, as these will likely be stricken from the court records anyway. That being said, opinions and speculation can still sway the jury even if not part of the official record, so it is best to just keep to the facts.
Cross-Examination Is Not Your Last Chance to Defend Your Position
Even though you will have already gone through direct examination with your own attorney before the cross-examination, you’ll still have another chance to set the record straight if you got tripped up during cross-examination. After that, your attorney will have the opportunity to do a re-direct examination in order to clarify anything that came up in the cross-examination. This way, your attorney can attempt to repair any damage to your case that may have been done. A skilled lawyer should be able to turn things back around for you to get your case back on track towards a favorable resolution.
Trust Your Attorney
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your attorney will always have your best interests at heart throughout the trial. While you will undoubtedly be at least a little bit stressed out about the cross-examination, rest assured that your personal injury lawyer will be right there with you to get you through it. Place your trust in your attorney and follow their instructions as closely as possible to give yourself the best chance of winning your case.
Review Your Case with Andrew Pickett
If you have been involved in an accident in Florida, Andrew Pickett is here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case in greater detail. We’ll advise you as to the next steps to move forward with your case. Call today to get started (321)-503-4014.