What Is A Lay Witness?

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You and your personal injury lawyer will need to identify lay witnesses to prove your personal injury case. Lay witnesses are everyday people who can prove fault or the extent of your injuries. Many people don’t expect that people outside of those who witnessed the crash can speak on their behalf.

Today Burlington, VT car accident lawyer, Drew Palcsik, discusses what a lay witness.

Learn who can speak on your behalf to help fight your injury case.

“What Is A Lay Witness?”Video Transcript

what is a lay witness

Hey, it’s Drew from Champlain Valley Law. In this video, we’ll share what a lay witness is and how they’re used in a personal injury case.

This video will be one of the few where we use some legal language because it’s important for understanding how a witness is used in a case and what he or she can talk about.

When we talk about lay witnesses, the two terms we need to understand are competency and relevancy. Taken together these ideas mean that someone has information to share that’s based on their own perceptions. Sometimes they’re actually called percipient witnesses.

For our purposes, you can think of a percipient witness as someone who came about their knowledge through the use of their senses. Usually, that’s because the person saw, felt, heard or did the thing that he or she is testifying about.

If a person didn’t learn about something through firsthand experience, then a judge will probably not allow that person to testify at all. So that’s competency.

Now the second part is relevancy. Does what the witness have to say make a difference in your case? Now we’ll talk about this in more depth in another video, but the basic idea is that you have certain things you must prove in an injury case.

For instance, you must prove that the defendant was at fault and you must prove the specifics of the harm done as a result. And your lay witnesses will help you prove one of these elements of your case or both.

Let’s take an example.

Say after you were involved in a car crash, that night you call your brother and you tell him all about what happened. Now, your brother would not be a good liability witness because he didn’t perceive anything about the crash on his own. What he knows he only knows because you told him.

On the other hand, if you regularly bike with your brother and since the crash, you may not go for rides as often. When you do, you’re in pain and you have to stop a lot. Your brother might be a good damages witness. He has direct experience with the harm that was caused by the crash.

So your takeaway from this video is that lay witnesses are people who have something to say that can help you prove a part of your case and the knowledge they have is based on their own personal experience. And the same person might be a good witness to liability, damages, or some other part of your case.

It’s important to be thinking of people who might fill these roles as soon as possible. The more witnesses you and your lawyer have to choose from the stronger your case will be in the end.

I hope you found today’s video helpful. If so, please give us the thumbs up and subscribe to the channel. And as always, let us know in the comment section below if there’s a topic you’d like to hear more about.

Thanks for watching.

We’ll see you next time.