Will I Have to Testify in My New York City Pedestrian Accident Case?

If your New York City pedestrian accident case goes to trial, you will probably need to testify in court. While there is no law stating such testimony is required, testifying gives the jury your side of the story, which is likely very different from the version presented by the defendant. 

However, most pedestrian accident cases are settled, so therefore courtroom testimony would not be necessary. The cases that do go to trial generally involve accidents in which the plaintiff is seriously injured and often permanently disabled. Testimony is a form of evidence, much like physical evidence from the scene or police and medical reports. Do not let apprehension about testifying stop you from giving evidence a jury needs to hear.

The New York City pedestrian accident lawyers at Douglas and London will help prepare you and be with you every step of the way. We fight hard so that you may receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our lawyers have recovered more than $18 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients.

Public Entities

If the case involves a public entity, testimony is required before the start of a trial. If you were hit by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, for example, you must testify at a 50h hearing. They are usually held at the lawyer’s office representing the city or public authority. 50h hearing testimony is along the lines of a deposition and given under oath.

If a private party caused your pedestrian accident, you have three years from the date of the accident in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if a public entity is involved, the statute of limitations is much shorter. You must notify the city government that you plan to sue within 90 days. After that, you must file the case in court within one year and 90 days from the date of the accident.

The Importance of Testimony

Few people relish the idea of testifying in court. Not only is it stressful, but plaintiffs may worry about making mistakes or saying the wrong thing. In fact, the plaintiff’s testimony is quite important. Hearing the plaintiff’s own words regarding how the accident happened and the types of injuries suffered can make a big difference in the jury’s decision.

During your testimony, you have the opportunity to tell the jury exactly how the accident occurred. You can also describe the extent of your injuries and how they have affected your life. Perhaps you can no longer work at the job you formerly held, and maybe your injuries are so severe that you can never work again. You can also tell the jury how the accident affected your family. In short, nothing is as effective in getting your personal story out, including your pain and suffering, as your courtroom testimony.

Your lawyer can compile the economic damages resulting from the accident, such as medical bills and lost wages, but those are straightforward calculations. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress, are not so easily calculated. When the jury hears how the actions of the defendant affected your life, they are likely to award a larger amount of damages.


New York City personal injury lawyers will assist clients in preparing for their court appearances and testimony. While you can expect the defendant’s attorney to challenge elements of your story– that is their job– your attorney will practice with you beforehand so that your testimony can stand up to cross-examination.

Contact us at Douglas and London for a free consultation

If you were seriously injured as a pedestrian by a negligent or reckless driver, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Douglas and London. Schedule a free consultation by calling or texting us 24/7 or submitting our online form.

After reviewing the details of your case, we will advise you on how to proceed. Because our lawyers operate on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless you receive compensation. Hablamos Español.