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Testifying At Illinois Workers’ Compensation Trials

We are Illinois lawyers, who since 2001, have been offering legal guidance and attorney referrals to the top workers compensation attorneys in Illinois. Call our office at 312-346-5320 or 800-517-1614 to speak with an attorney for FREE and get pointed in the right direction. Or  fill out our contact form and we will contact you. It’s always free and confidential.

While most Illinois workers’ compensation cases settle, some do go to trial. It doesn’t happen with a jury as these cases are Arbitrations. There is your lawyer, a defense attorney, the Arbitrator and a court reporter. Most cases take half a day or so to complete. Your attorney should prepare you in advance of the trial about what testifying will be like. Here are some tips that we think everyone should know about.

  1. Tell the truth. We mention this first because it is the most important. Dishonesty can destroy your credibility as a witness and be detrimental to your case. If you aren’t sure the answer to a question, say so. If you aren’t sure what the lawyer is asking, say so. Never guess an answer or say what you think they want to hear.
  2. Give short answers. Honesty is important, but there is no need to offer extra information. If it is a yes or no question, answering yes or no is sufficient.
  3. Do not embellish. The truth always comes out, and embellishing your injuries or aspects of your story can have the same negative effect of lying.
  4. Do not anticipate questions. Even if you know a question an attorney is about to ask, allow him or her to complete the question before you begin to answer it.
  5. Pause after each question and answer only what is asked. Don’t give long, drawn out answers or ramble on.
  6. Speak up. Be confident in your answers. If you sound unsure of your answers, it will show.  Talk loudly and clearly.
  7. Dress appropriately. A common sense, but often overlooked tip. First impressions matter. You will be seen before you are heard. Being well dressed will let everybody in the courtroom know that you are taking the trial seriously.
  8. Relax. It is your attorney’s job to worry about the ins and outs of the trial. Your job is to give honest testimony – let your attorney worry about everything else.
  9. Be patient. You probably want your testimony to be over as soon as possible, but it is important that everything is done the right way. There may be motions or side bars during your testimony. Try your best to be patient.
  10. Practice. It is a good idea to rehearse your testimony beforehand. It will help you feel comfortable and more prepared when it comes time to testify. Quite honestly if your attorney doesn’t go over your testimony and the questions they will ask, something is wrong.
  11. Bring support. If it would make you feel more comfortable, ask if you can bring your spouse, a friend etc. with you that day. A friendly face can make all the difference.

It may seem like a big event, but almost everyone we talk to after they testify tells us that it was way more informal and simpler than they anticipated. The other people involved in the case are usually very nice and following these tips actually work.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with a lawyer for free about a case, please contact us any time.