Preparing to give testimony in court? Here is some advice from a Jacksonville personal injury attorney on being specific:
Guessing, also known as speculating, is not the way to answer questions while on the stand. If the only way you can answer a question is to guess, then the only answer you can say is “I don’t know.” Even if you feel you know the answer but don’t know for sure, your answer is I don’t know. Don’t worry about appearing evasive or ignorant
If you have enough information to make a reasonable estimate, then you may do so as long as you make it clear that you are giving an estimate or approximation.
Avoid Vague Terms
You should never be vague or ambiguous, which may imply that you are uncertain about the answer. The following words or terms should be avoided:
Correct me if I’m wrong;
If I’m not mistaken;
I may have;
I might have;
It seems; and
Let me see.
Always Finish Your Answer
If an attorney cuts you off before you have finished your answer, you have the right to finish what you were saying. Incomplete answers may be misleading. If you are interrupted by the opposing attorney, politely wait until the attorney finishes talking and say that you are not finished. Do not argue or get mad.
If you have more questions about the best way to give testimony, contact injury attorney John Fagan at 904-278-1000.
John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981.
John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder.
In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home.
John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation.
John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates.
Service to the Community
John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
The information provided on this web site is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Every case is different and requires individual attention before such advice can be given. Neither the transmission nor receipt of general advice to or from our website will constitute an attorney-client relationship.