What are before and after witnesses in a lawsuit?
You have been asked to provide before and after witnesses for your case. What are they and why are they important?
We’ve all seen before and after photos. The person in the before photo is miserable, unhappy, overweight, grumpy or whatever the case may be.
After the cleanse, the exercise program, whatever is being advertised, they are glowing, happy, and feeling great.
The point is to illustrate a dramatic change resulting from an event.
When we talk about before and after witnesses in a lawsuit, something bad has happened. Something has caused a dramatic change for the worse.
Before and after witnesses are people who can testify what you were like before the bad thing happened and now after the bad thing has happened.
Here’s an example I heard from another lawyer.
His client had a traumatic brain injury.
His before and after witness was a dry cleaning employee.
How would a dry cleaning employee be able to help this case?
Well, the dry cleaning employee told the court about interacting with the client before the injury.
Before the injury, the client came in smiling and explaining investing tips and mathematical formulas about which companies were thriving growth opportunities.
After the injury, the client struggles with speech and is unable to count out the money to pay for his dry cleaning.
The dry cleaner helps the client count out the money he needs to pay.
Even though the dry cleaning employee does not understand the details of the injury, he can demonstrate the ways the client has changed.
We look for these witnesses – a spouse, a child, a parent, a coworker – who knew the injured person before and after the event.
This helps the jury to determine damages.
Before and after witnesses can be effective in illustrating the true change that has occurred. This is a more simple method of illustrating a more complicated problem.
In any case, before and after witnesses can be very powerful.
So it is worth your time as a client to think about who might could serve as a before and after witness.
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