Credible witnesses often rank among the most important factors in creating a strong lawsuit. This is because every piece of information a witness provides can prove extremely valuable in coming to a verdict. As such, witness statements can help to shape a case for either side of a court case. And so, if you or a loved one has been injured and you’re seeking financial compensation for your losses, witnesses can be the key to helping you recover all the money and benefits you’re entitled to.

The experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are prepared to interview witnesses on your behalf. Call us today at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation on your case. Alternatively, you can schedule your free case evaluation online.

Either way, don’t delay! Protect your future by taking charge and having Schwartzapfel Lawyersfight – and win! – for you.

What Is A Witness Statement?

A witness statement is a statement provided by someone who witnessed an event, usually given to law enforcement or a skilled legal team.

Witness statements are different from testimony, which is a verbal account that a witness can give on the witness stand in a courtroom. Both sides should have the opportunity to ask a witness questions while they’re giving testimony, but a witness statement leaves no room for communication.

Witnesses are often used in civil depositions and criminal trials. Moreover, a witness can support either side. In point of fact, each side of a lawsuit will typically choose witnesses who recall the event in a way that supports their story.

As well, witnesses frequently appear in court not only for criminal cases but also for civil lawsuits. For instance, someone who witnessed an accident could serve as key witnesses in a civil trial.

Who Is The Accused In A Lawsuit?

The accused is the person who was either accused of a crime or the person who was subjected to a lawsuit. In civil cases, the accused is usually referred to as the defendant because they’re defending themselves against an accusation or claim.

In a criminal trial, the other side is called the prosecution. A state prosecutor makes a claim against a defendant by accusing them of a crime. In a civil lawsuit, the other side is called the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the person who is claiming that the defendant owes them damages.

For more on this and related topics, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today. Alternatively, please continue reading.

Can The Accused See Witness Statements?

Each state has its own distinct rules governing witness statements. In New York State, the accused and their seasoned legal team are able to see witness statements before direct testimony is given, but not before the trial begins.

In New York, every defendant is entitled to take part in the discovery process, which involves reviewing the evidence collected by the opposing party. Here, the examination of witness statements during discovery will typically occur after the jury has been sworn in for a trial (if the trial involves a jury) and before the opposing party presents its opening argument. This gives the accused time enough to prepare but not so much as to detract from the proceedings on the whole.

Can A Witness Statement Be Used As Evidence?

A witness statement generally can’t be used as evidence in a case because it’s a closed statement. Both sides are allowed to ask a witness questions in court, but a written statement doesn’t leave room for questions. The side that provides a witness statement would be at a significant advantage because the opposing side probably won’t have the opportunity to cross-examine the statement.

Because witness statements can’t be clarified or elaborated upon, they’re considered hearsay. Anything considered hearsay cannot be used as evidence in a trial.

How Are Witness Statements Used?

Witness statements cannot be used as evidence, but they can help build a case. A legal team can review multiple witness statements to determine if multiple witnesses saw an event happen in the same way. The more people who agree with an account of events, the stronger a case becomes.

Witness statements can also help a legal team decide which questions to ask witnesses at trial. If a witness statement contains key information, it may be helpful to reiterate that information in court. Preparing questions ahead of time can help a skilled legal team stay on track and ensure that all of the most important information is discussed at a trial.

Do I Need Witness Statements for My Case?

If you were injured on the job or on someone else’s property, witness statements can confirm your story. Anyone who saw the incident can describe what took place.

Other people may have spotted the hazard that caused your injury, like a wet floor or a broken piece of machinery. This is especially helpful if there were no clear signs in place, like caution tape or a wet floor sign.

If there may have been witnesses in your case, you should call the experienced New York personal injury attorneys of Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 immediately. We’ll be able to contact the witnesses while the events are still fresh in their minds.

Remember, the sooner you obtain a witness statement, the more accurate the information is likely to be. To that end, don’t wait until it’s too late. You must act today to protect your tomorrows. And you can do just that by scheduling your free consultation online now.

Do Witnesses Who Give Statements Speak At A Trial?

If a witness provides a written statement that mentions observations that could have a significant impact on a case, that witness may be called to testify at a trial. During their testimony, they will likely be asked questions and given the opportunity to present the information from their witness statement in court.

As soon as they give their account of events on the witness stand, their statements should become testimony. Their testimony will typically become part of the court’s records.

The side that presented the witness will likely already have a strategy for asking the witness questions. They’ll know what information is most important. For example, if a witness saw you fall off of a ladder at a job site, it’s helpful to know if a witness saw a ladder break or watched safety equipment fail, as this will demonstrate that the job site wasn’t safe.

The opposing side will then have the opportunity to ask questions. Here, they will likely only ask questions if they believe the answers can strengthen their defense. This stage of the process is called cross-examination. If the defense believes that asking the witness questions can do more harm than good, they can choose to move on without asking any questions.

Can A Witness See Their Own Statement Before The Trial?

Depending on the situation, it can be advantageous to allow a witness to review their statement before a trial, especially if a significant amount of time has passed since they last discussed the events they witnessed. Their witness statement may help to refresh their memory, reminding them of small details they may have forgotten while they were waiting to show up in court.

Note: This isn’t considered coaching a witness, as you’re simply presenting the witness with their own words. You aren’t adding anything new, encouraging them to creatively re-remember the situation, or attempting to lead them into changing their recollection. As long as the witness is presented with an exact copy of their statement, this is generally permissible.

Let Schwartzapfel Lawyers Fight For You!

If witness testimony is necessary for the success of your claim, we at Schwartzapfel Lawyers will do all that we can to find, refine, and incorporate that information to make the best possible case for you in court. With more than (150) years of combined experience fighting cases just like yours, our stellar track record is proof that we’re up to any challenge.

Call us now at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation and so much more! And remember: The sooner you act, the more accurate your witness statements will be.

So, please, protect your tomorrows starting today. One call to Schwartzapfel Lawyers could save you miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road. What’s more, no matter your situation, it will be our honor and privilege to fight for you!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 516-342-2200 now!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Eyewitness Evidence A Guide for Law Enforcement-Research Report | United States Department of Justice

ARTICLE 8. HEARSAY 8.00. Definition of Hearsay (1) Hearsay is an out of court statement of a declarant offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement. | New York State Courts

U.S. Attorneys | Discovery | United States Department of Justice

Victims and Witnesses: Understanding Your Rights and the Federal Court System | United States Attorneys’ Office

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