Answering Difficult Cross-Examination Questions
If you are a witness in your own personal injury case, the defense’s attorney will likely ask difficult questions on cross-examination. Your New Jersey personal injury law firm will usually object if the question is improper pursuant to the court’s rules of evidence. However, sometimes, your attorney may choose not to object or the judge may overrule the objection and require that you answer it anyway. Here are a few tips for answering questions on cross-examination.
First of all, be prepared and well rested when you go into a courtroom. An experienced New Jersey personal injury law firm should prep you for going into the hearing by going over questions that he or she intends to ask, as well as mentioning issues that the defense is likely to cross-examine you regarding. Review your notes from the accident. Normally, significant time has passed since the accident occurred, and details can easily be confused.
If you are asked a cross-examination question with multiple parts or you do not understand a question, it is okay to ask that the question be restated or clarified. You may also answer, but be very clear what answer you are providing to which question. For instance, you may be asked, “Do you drink alcohol or take drugs?” You might answer, “Yes, I drink on occasion, but I do not use any sort of drugs.”
Also, do not guess at answers to questions. In particular, do not answer leading questions to which you do not actually know the answers. For example, you might be asked, “So a blue car hit you from the side, correct?” Do not just agree to this statement if you do not know for sure. Instead, just state that you do not know if that is correct. You might reply that you were hit from the side but do not recall if the car was blue. If you do provide an estimated answer, be sure to state that the answer you are providing is just an estimate.
Finally, take time to breath and think about the questions that are being posed to you. Do not hurry to answer questions. Be sure to listen carefully to an entire question, and answer just what is asked of you. Your New Jersey personal injury law firm representative will have an opportunity to ask you further question (re-direct) after the cross-examination to address any necessary issues or elaborate on any questions that may need further explanation.
Contact Clark Law Firm, an experienced New Jersey personal injury law firm, by calling (877) 841-8855 for a free initial consultation regarding your personal injury matter.