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Cross Examination in a Personal Injury Case


During cross-examination, a plaintiff needs to make eye-to-eye contact with jurors. Do not argue. Be polite and respectful. Do not sell or convince; be genuine.

Before cross-examination at trial, a plaintiff most likely will be deposed. Prepare for a deposition as if it is trial so that the answers at trial will be consistent. If it is a video deposition, prepare as if the jurors are there. Most likely, the video will be shown during the trial.

Foreign witnesses may set up a barrier because of clothes, hairstyles, mannerisms, gestures. Try to Americanize the style, manners, accents. Some people tend to speak too much. Work on giving shorter answers. Use graphics where possible to demonstrate when English is inadequate. Use an interpreter who does not misinterpret or confuse the witness.

Non-verbal movements are significant if they are made in reaction to something. The context of the non-verbal response matters. There are two primary ways to lie:

· Conceal or not tell everything

· Falsify or give false information as if it were true

It is hard to conceal strong emotion. People tend to show unease when they massage, rub, hold, pinch, scratch. Jurors get cues on deceit or distress from:

· Gaze aversion

· Nose wrinkle

· Nose rub

· Smiles

· Hands

· Head position

· Mouth cover

· Neck grab

Jurors base their opinions on plaintiffs based on perception. The message to the jurors is more than what a plaintiff says. To prepare for a personal injury trial, engage a Hawaii accident attorney who knows about communications skills during cross-examination.