HomePersonal InjurySurviving Questioning and Cross Examination in a Personal Injury Matter

Surviving Questioning and Cross Examination in a Personal Injury Matter

Manroop Chatha

You decide you want to sue for damages resulting from a personal injury caused by an at-fault party. Now, part of your settlement or litigation process includes being questioned on your evidence and being cross examined. To successfully navigate questioning, it’s important to prepare and provide clear responses. Our experienced personal injury lawyers work with clients to prepare them for questioning and share the following to keep in mind ahead of being questioned:

  1. Preparation – Re-familiarize yourself with the details of your matter, including those that are well-known to you, such as when the event that caused the personal injury occurred and where, as well as the events that followed including medical attention. Understanding the process and how the day will unfold will help you feel more confident.
  2. Tell the truth – The questioner may test your memory of events. You should do your best not to guess and answer, as this can create inconsistencies and may give the impression that you do not make for a credible witness.
  3. Review the appropriate medical reports and records – You may be questioned and pressed on any inconsistencies in reporting your symptoms to various medical treatment providers. The other lawyer questioning you will be curious about potential discrepancies. It’s important to review the chronology of your case, including when you sought treatment from a specific service provider.
  4. Maintain an attentive and calm composure – This will help you provide credible and consistent answers. This will also allow you to focus on non-verbal cues, your body language, facial expressions and your tone of voice. Even though a transcript may not capture or reflect non-verbal cues, your questioner may lean in on these cues and formulate questions accordingly.
  5. Acknowledge the emotional impact on you – Take breaks and pace yourself through questioning. Refrain from arguing with the questioner. Remember, you do not need to convince the questioner that your narrative or facts are the truth – the questioner is simply gathering information and assessing it for inconsistencies with information you may have provided to treatment providers. Acknowledging the emotional impact of the personal injury and of the questioning can help frame your responses, including highlighting the negative impact of the injury on your life. Often, questioning lasts a full-day and can be exhausting. This can have an impact on your ability to answer questions fully, especially if you are experiencing some of the physical symptoms and difficulties resulting from the injury.
  6. Actively listen to the question –You may have an urge to justify or defend yourself, especially when the question feels intrusive or accusatory. It’s important to allow the questioner to finish asking the question before you answer. Keep your answers brief and concise. If the questioner needs more information, allow them to ask. If a question is unclear or confusing, ask the questioner to re-phrase the question. If you ramble on with your answer, you could be providing information that is not crucial and could be lending yourself to more questioning.
  7. Take your time – Rushing through questioning will leave you feeling as if you had more to say and that you were misunderstood. Quickly answering questions to simply conclude questioning may result in you providing inaccurate answers. You are less likely to feel rattled in questioning if you are satisfied with your opportunity to answer questions truthfully and thoroughly.
  8. Pause before answering a question – This will allow you to consider and formulate your answer carefully. This also builds in an opportunity for your lawyer to object to any inappropriate questions. This will also allow you to consider whether you are being asked for irrelevant or sensitive information.
  9. Know the logistics for questioning day – If you are appearing virtually, just like with any important meeting, test your technology.
  10. Keep the big picture in mind – Questioning is one part of the legal process in settling or litigating your case. It’s your opportunity to answer questions based on your experience. Your legal team will prepare you and advise how this questioning will fit into your legal proceedings.

Work with your legal team to strategize about your matter and how to approach questioning. Every set of facts in a personal injury matter are unique so it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can help you prepare for questioning.

2023-12-07T19:15:16+00:00July 18, 2023|Personal Injury|
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