Auto Accident Trial Questions. Be prepared and win.
Typically once the case cannot be settled, then the case needs to go to court and have an auto accident trial . What causes a case to go to trial is dealt with in another article. In court there will be an auto accident trial. At an auto accident trial witnesses will be called and it will be necessary for you as the person who was injured in the accident to actually come and testify at the auto accident trial. The purpose of today’s video is to go over the questions that would typically be asked at an auto accident trial .
To start an auto accident trial the lawyer would probably ask a series of questions just to let the other side as well as the judge or jury know who you are.
Typical questions would be – What’s your name? How old are you? How far did you go in school? Are you married or single? Do you have any children? Were you in the military service? Whether you are employed or not, what type of work you did, how long you have worked there. Typically attorney in an auto accident trial ask you about some of your outside interests. Obviously on cross-examination during an auto accident trial the main question that the defense will ask you is if you have any criminal convictions that would be relevant to the issues of credibility. The purpose of all of these questions in an auto accident trial is so the judge or jury can get to know you and get a better feel for what type of person you are and whether they’re going to believe what you have to say.
Attorney in an auto accident trial will get into the facts of the particular accident.
Typical questions will go as follows – On the day of the accident where were you coming from and where were you going? Typically the person says, ‘leaving my house and I was on the way to work’ or some other quick answer like that. Then attorney will ask – What route did you take? What roads were you travelling? – just to show that they’re familiar with the way they were going. Attorney in an auto accident trial will ask what road they were on immediately prior to the accident and ask witness to describe how many lanes the road is, the nature of the surface, what direction they were going and what lane they were in. If witness can tell me whether they’re going North, South, East, West, that would be helpful. If the trier of fact would be familiar with the area then ask witness, were they were going toward downtown, away from downtown. Those questions are asked at an auto accident trial to set up where they were when the accident happened. Attorney will ask them what the speed limit and how fast they were going.
Attorney in an auto accident trial will ask whether this happened at an intersection, and whether there were any traffic control devices at the intersection. That would typically be either a red light, green light or could be a stop sign or some other traffic control device. Attorney will ask how that traffic controldevice works in this particular situation. So if it’s a left turn case and there’s left turn arrow then ask them the sequence of the lights. If it’s a stop sign ask them if it’s a four way stop sign or a two-way stop sign so we know who would have the right-of-way. It could be extremely relevant in a red light case whether the light sequences with the turn arrow at the beginning of the sequence or it comes on at the end. Questions regarding whether the light for each way, meaning North or South, changes from red to green at the same time or are they separated.
At the auto accident trial I have so far have led them through the facts I need answered, then ask more general non-leading questions, ‘Please describe what happened in the accident.’ At that point witness tells what happened, either they’re traveling down the road, Liberty Road whatever the name of the road is, at a green light and then the person came from their right, ran a stop sign and struck their vehicle.
Once attorney in your auto accident trial has established exactly how the accident happened,attorney would typically then ask witness to describe in detail in slow-motion exactly what happened. So attorney might ask, ‘Alright as you are approaching the intersection did you notice what color the light was?’, for instance if it’s a red light case, or did you have any traffic control device or a stop sign. Attorney in an auto accident trial will ask witness how fast were you going (hopefully below the speed limit.)
In a red light auto accident trial , attorney will ask witness if they continued to look at the light because often people testify that the last time they saw the light was a half a block away and obviously it can change during that particular period. So it’s important that witness continue to observe what’s going on all the way through the intersection. Attorney will then ask witness whether the person approached them from their right or their left and whether, if it’s a stop sign case, whether they saw them at the stop sign, did they in fact stop at the stop sign or did they just run a stop sign. If it’s a red light case attorney will ask witness if their light had been red and it just turned green or if the light had been solid green all the way as they approached or whether the light had just turned yellow and what they did as a result of the light changing .Then an auto accident trial attorney will askwitness when they first saw the defendant’s vehicle, meaning the car that caused the accident, hopefully sometime before the intersection, and then attorney will ask them after that, ‘what did you see next?’ And then if they didn’t see the other car until the second before the impact an auto accident trial attorney will ask them where were they coming from, how fast were they going and from what direction.
Other questions an auto accident trial attorney may ask is about the traffic before the accident, did you have any other vehicles to your left, did you any vehicles to your right, did you have any vehicles in front of you, were there any vehicles behind you. How about for the other car? Did he have any other vehicles near him? In a red light case suppose the defendant ran a red light and the road where defendant is coming from has three lanes and the other two cars in his direction have stopped and he’s moving. An auto accident trial attorney will ask whether there was traffic in the same direction or maybe it was across the street going the opposite direction the defendant was traveling all stopped but other driver is the only one moving in that direction. It could be an indication that he may ran a red light.
Then an auto accident trial attorney will ask the same questions about the cars in the same direction plaintiff is traveling, were they next to us, and did they stop. All of those questions would be relevant on the issue of what happened in the particular accident. Then an auto accident trial attorney will have witness describe the impacts. What did you do immediately prior to the accident? Have witness explain what if anything they tried to do to avoid the accident.
Describe the impact. Very important. The value of case often has to do with how hard the impact was and how much damage there was to the car. It is more believable that you were injured if there is significant damage to the car from a significant impact. So an auto accident trial attorney will typically have the client describe the impact whether it’s soft, medium, hard or something more descriptive and what happened to them immediately after. Did the airbags go off? What happened to their body inside the car? Did they go forward or did they go back?
Now typically if you struck in the rear you would think that your body would go forward first but the laws of physics actually say you go backwards first and then forward. If you’re struck from the side, especially if you’re struck from the right side, you might expect that your body would go to the left but typically it would actually go to the right under the laws of physics. If you’re struck from the left you would typically go to your left first. And reason for that is, as I understand it is, you usually go on the direction where the force is coming from.
So an auto accident trial attorney will ask witness what happened to them inside the car. They’re gonna say went forward, backward whatever. An auto accident trial attorney will ask them if they struck anything inside the car. They will tell us what they struck, what happened in their body inside the car. Then an auto accident trial attorney will ask them as a result of the accident, ‘Were you injured?” An auto accident trial attorney will ask them if they had anyone else in the car, who they were they, where everyone was sitting. An auto accident trial attorney will ask what happened to them as a result of the accident, whether they were injured and what happened to their bodies.
An auto accident trial attorney will ask what happened immediately after the accident. Were they able to get out of the vehicle? Did you talk to the other driver? Did you talk to the police officer? Who called the police? How long did it take for the police to get there? Immediately after the accident were you injured? And the witness will say either yes or no or that they felt the pain later. If they were injured at the scene what pain were they feeling, what parts of their body was hurt. They’ll testify they hurt for example their head, neck or back or all the three. Then an auto accident trial attorney will ask them describe each body part and what problems they were having at that time. If there was any blood, if there were any cuts.
Any of those physical injuries would obviously be helpful as far as valuing their case. Were there any broken bones? Did an ambulance come? What did the other person do at the scene of the accident? What happened with the other people in the accident? Were they injured? What were they complaining about? When the policeman arrived, who did the police officer speak to? Did you talk to the other driver? What do the other driver say? Did he admit fault? Were there any witnesses at the time of the accident? Did you get their names? What did they tell you? Were there any passengers in the other vehicle? Did you speak with them? What did they tell you? What happened next? Did you go away in an ambulance? Did you go to the hospital that day? Did you go to the doctor? What medical treatment did you have? Let’s say witness went to the hospital. If they went to the hospital an auto accident trial attorney will ask them what did they do at the hospital. What treatment did they provide? Did they take x-rays? If so, what body parts? What complaints did you have the hospital? How did you feel at the hospital? An auto accident trial attorney will have them describe each particular body part. What treatment did they provide at the hospital? What recommendations did they make at the hospital?
An auto accident trial attorney will ask them about what happened next. Did they go home? If they went home, what did they do next? Did they go to bed? Were they able to sleep? What problems were they having at home? An auto accident trial attorney will ask them about what happened the next day. Did they go to the doctor? Did they receive any medical treatment? If so where did they get the medical treatment? Who sent them for the medical treatment? What treatment was provided? What complaints did they have? Did the doctor there take any x-rays? Did they get any medications when they were there at the hospital? And then what treatment was provided by the doctor’s office. If they had physical therapy there, I’ll ask them to describe the therapy. What types of therapy did you get? How long did it take? When you were at the doctor’s office, how long were you there? What examination did he do? If you had x-rays, what body parts did you have x-rayed? How did you feel that point?
An auto accident trial attorney will ask about the treatment process that they had. If they had four weeks of therapy, how often did they go? What types of therapy did they have? Were they working at the time of the accident? If so did they miss any time from work? If so what type of work did they do? Why were they unable to work? What is it about the accident that affect their ability or inability to do their type of work that they normally do? How much money did they normally make? How much money did they lose as a result of the accident?
An auto accident trial attorney will ask them how they felt for those four or five weeks while had treatment. What is it, if they’re unable to work, why they couldn’t? If they were able to go to work but not do to their full duties, what parts of the job couldn’t they do? What about the injuries they had prevented them from doing that?
An auto accident trial attorney will ask them about their home activities. What do they normally do and what they were unable to do as result of the accident? And describe why that was. How did it affect their home life? How did it affect their ability to take care of their children? How did it affect their relationship with their spouse (if they’re married)? How did it affect their everyday life? That all goes to the issue of pain and suffering. Then an auto accident trial attorney will ask them when they no longer felt any pain . If they’re still having problems, An auto accident trial attorney will ask them what any permanent problems they’re having, have them describe the symptoms, have them describe whether it affects their permanent ability to do the type of work they were doing, what limitations they presently have, how it affects their ability to their everyday activities, what permanent limitations did they have with their everyday activities. That concludes a typical direct examination.
Next thing that will take plkace in an auto accident trial is cross examination of that witness. Cross examination typically is an effort to put a dent into the story that’s just been told. Typical cross examination always covers, the nature of the impact, whether it’s a lot or a little. So in an accident where the impact is relatively minor, the lawyer may show pictures of the damage to the car to the plaintiff which would be the person suing, ask him to identify the pictures and ask what the damage is and just make a big deal about the fact that there’s very little damage or any damage. Sometimes there isn’t damage to the car because people are not cars. And cars are made to take punishment that people are not able to take and then present the pictures to the judge and then later make the argument plaintiff couldn’t have been hurt because there’s little or no damage to the car.
Typically defense trial attorney may ask about prior injuries either to the same parts of body or just prior car accidents or other type of accidents. If the person’s had other accidents in the past the defense lawyer will typically ask about those, ask about whether they were injured in those cases, who treated them and whether the injuries are the same or similar to the injuries that were involved in this accident. The reason they asked these questions is because if the plaintiff had a lot of accidents this can effect their credibility because it makes him look like all they do is get involved in accidents and file claims. The defense lawyer will try and make it look like they’re a professional claims person.
The other reason the defense lawyer may ask about prior injuries because the person that had a recent injury to the same body part may have been treating up through the time that the new accident happened from a prior accident or maybe he completed his treatment from the first accident but he had a permanent disability as result of the prior accident and that the medical records from the two accidents look very much similar and may argue later that the injuries that the claimant says he had as a result the accident were actually due to pre-existing conditions. In addition the defense may ask about prior workers compensation claims just to see what other injuries which may been similar to the type of injuries that were involved in this particular case.
On cross-examination, fault, meaning what happened, may be disputed. You can obviously be asked questions to try and put a dent in your story as to whether you are at fault . Defense attorney will ask you how fast you were going. Defense attorney may ask you other questions to indicate that the accident was somehow your fault or if it wasn’t your fault that you had an opportunity to avoid the accident. You may have had the last clear chance to avoid the accident. Also they may ask questions to try to make it look like that you contributed to the accident. If the defendant’s story, meaning the other driver’s story, is that you had the red light, they may ask you about that. They may ask you when the last time you looked at the light . They may ask you how fast you’re going to see if you’re going over the speed limit. They may ask you the last time you looked at your speedometer to see if you even have any idea how fast you’re going. They may ask you if you had your radio on, if you had music on, if you had other people in a vehicle, if you were talking to people in the vehicle, anything to make it look like perhaps you have been distracted.
If you have a prior criminal record like for forgery or theft or something similar, they can ask you about prior criminal convictions to make it look like you’re the type of person that may lie in court. Some criminal record are not admissible if they do not relate to truth and veracity.
They can ask you about your injuries from the accident, ask you about the treatment you had and see how familiar you are with the actual treatment. They will also see if your complaints in court are similar to complaints that you told the doctors. In addition they may try and see if you’re exaggerating. They will try to make you play up your injuries as much as possible and then compare it to the medical records. If the damage to your car is relatively minor and you missed three months of work they’re going to point out to the trier of fact the judge or jury that perhaps you’re exaggerating your injuries and it makes no sense you missed that much time from work in a case where there was hardly any damage the car. They may ask what type of work you do and try to show that you could have in fact actually worked. They may ask about your work history to show that it’s not unusual for you to miss a lot of time from work .
Going back to liability again they may ask you in more detail about what happened either before or after the accident. A lot of times, an auto accident trial attorney will try and get a better idea of of where the person was coming from, where they were going, and perhaps in some ways show that the accident couldn’t possibly have happened the way the client said. They may ask you if you were in a hurry, if you were late for work, or late for school. The defense will ask anything to make it look like your story just doesn’t add up.
With regard to your treatment they will ask you if you have kept all of your appointments. If you didn’t make your appointments, ask you why you didn’t make your appointments. If you start to go to therapy and then you don’t go to therapy for three weeks and start treating again, they’re going to wonder how hurt you really were because you weren’t able to keep your treatment appointments. It’s important that you keep all of your appointments. They always ask you who referred you to the doctor. Why didn’t you go to your family doctor? Why didn’t you go to this kind of doctor or that kind of doctor?
With regard to permanent injuries they’re going ask you why you haven’t gone back to the doctor. Do you expect to receive any other treatment? They may ask you about the specific therapy that you’ve had, they will have you describe the physical therapy just to make sure that in fact you went. They may ask you what kind of doctor you saw, meaning was it a man or woman, just to verify that you actually saw someone.
There’s all kinds of tricky questions that these people ask in order to try and make you look bad. So it’s important in all of these cases that you not only go over your direct examination as well as your cross-examination with your lawyer several times before you try your case so that you’re aware of all the questions that are going to be asked. If you do that, then your case will go well. If you don’t then your case is not likely to go well.
For more info on car accidents in Maryland, CLICK HERE.