In personal injury lawsuits such as car accident cases and faulty medical device claims, witnesses are often a crucial element. Answers given by witnesses under oath are known as testimony – making it an important form of evidence used to help decide the case due to specific rules and procedures surrounding its collection for accuracy and relevance. Although witness statements can be valuable in court proceedings, they must meet certain criteria before being accepted formally into consideration within the legal system’s parameters:
- When testifying in court, witnesses must provide a sworn oath to tell the truth. In Texas, this can be done without involving any religious texts – providing an alternative for those who prefer not to swear on holy books.
- Attorneys ask specific questions whose answers help build the narrative of a case. For this reason, they hone in on specific questions to obtain pertinent details from witnesses rather than leave room open for conjecture and irrelevancies.
- When asked about an incident, witnesses should only report what they know to be true – referencing facts instead of making assumptions. Anything more than that is off-limits; speculation carries no weight in legal proceedings and must be avoided.
- Attorneys have the right to object when a witness is asked leading questions, encouraged to speculate, refused to answer or has strayed off-topic. Such objections are made in order retain accuracy and relevance of information provided during testimony.
Testimony is a powerful tool in litigation, and it can come from many sources. During trial, attorneys for both sides may have the opportunity to ask questions of witnesses as part of their case; however if recorded testimony outside court procedures – known as depositions – are used instead, objections still remain an option that must be considered carefully by all those involved. Beyond formal proceedings there lies other varieties of evidence which do not possess the same weight before judicial consideration.