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Being blindsided by a subpoena after a car accident you didn’t cause can feel jarring. You filed your report, moved on, and now find yourself summoned to court as a witness. Why? What’s expected? Don’t worry. Subpoenas are more common than you think in car accident cases. Here are some answers to common questions about subpoenas for car accidents in Virginia.

What Is a Subpoena?

subpoena is a court order or legal document that orders you to appear as a witness to give testimony or produce evidence of the accident.

The subpoena should clearly state the following:

  • Court’s name,
  • Date of the hearing,
  • Time of the hearing, and
  • Any documents you will be required to produce.

If anything seems unclear or you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the attorney or officer who issued the subpoena or an attorney at River Run Law for expert guidance.

Why Did You Receive a Subpoena?

There are two primary reasons you would receive a car accident court summons.

  • Legal action against the at-fault driver. The prosecutor might need your testimony to support or prove reckless driving, speeding, DUI, or other criminal traffic violations. The prosecutor or police officer may need your testimony to prove the defendant’s guilt.
  • Civil lawsuit. Another person involved in the accident may be suing the driver for personal injury or property damage. Both parties might subpoena you to support their case.

As a witness, you’ll recount the events leading up to and during the accident as accurately and objectively as possible. Your testimony is crucial, as it provides additional information about the accident and the at-fault driver’s conduct and helps the court to make a decision.

Do You Have to Comply with the Subpoena?

Receiving a subpoena requires you to comply with its terms unless you have a valid reason to object to it or quash it. If you fail to appear in court as the subpoena orders, you could face legal consequences, such as contempt of court, fines, or jail time. So, you must take the subpoena seriously and follow its instructions.

How Do You Prepare for the Court Hearing?

Receiving a subpoena is your opportunity to hold the at-fault driver accountable and potentially influence the case outcome. Let’s look at how to make the most of your testimony.

Review the Accident Details

Refresh your memory about the accident details, including the date, time, location, weather conditions, and any specific observations you have about the other driver’s behavior (speeding, erratic driving, etc.).

You can rely on memory, but the more time goes by, the more our memories fade. If you took notes or made a statement to the police at or near the time of the crash, you can review such documentation to help prod your memory. Having a clear recollection will strengthen your testimony.

Gather Evidence

Gather any supporting evidence, such as photos of the scene, damage to your car, or witness statements, and bring them to court. You should also gather evidence of your injuries, such as photos, videos, medical records, or medical bills. These can bolster your testimony and lend credibility to your account.

Dress Professionally and Be Punctual

First impressions matter, so dress professionally and arrive on time. This demonstrates respect for the court and the legal process.

Remain Calm and Composed

Courtrooms can be intimidating, but remember to stay calm and composed. Speak clearly and confidently, answer questions directly and honestly, and avoid speculation or personal opinions.

What Can You Expect from the Court Process?

The clerk will swear you in and ask you to identify yourself. You will then be asked to testify at the hearing. You will have to answer questions from the prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney. Answer their questions truthfully and concisely, sticking to the facts, what you observed, and what you know. Only answer the questions asked.

What Are Your Rights As a Witness in Virginia?

Being a witness in a car accident case, particularly when you’re the victim, can be stressful and emotionally draining. To protect your safety, well-being, and ability to participate in the legal process, Virginia law ensures you have specific rights, including the following.

  • Respect and dignity. You deserve to be treated fairly and courteously by all parties involved, including the defendant and their representatives.
  • Protection from harassment and intimidation. If you feel threatened or unsafe by anyone related to the case, you have the right to request a protective order from the court. This order can restrict contact and impose limitations on their behavior.
  • Reimbursement for reasonable expenses. You are entitled to compensation for any out-of-pocket costs incurred due to your testimony, such as travel expenses, parking fees, or lost wages.
  • Legal counsel. You have the right to consult with an attorney who can advise you on your witness responsibilities, answer your questions, and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

Remember, your voice matters. Exercising your rights as a witness in a car accident in Virginia ensures your safety and the pursuit of justice. 

Where Will You Testify in Your Car Accident Case?

If you’re called to testify as a witness in a RichmondChesterfield, or Henrico County, Virginia car accident case, your hearing will likely take place at one of four locations:

  • John Marshall Courts Building: 400 N 9th St, Richmond, VA 23219.
  • Marsh Manchester Courts Building: 920 Hull Street, Richmond, VA 23224.
  • Chesterfield Courthouse: 9500 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832-0144.
  • Henrico County Government Building: 4309 E Parham Road, Henrico, VA 23273–0775.

Court locations can occasionally change, so it’s important to check in with your attorney or refer to the court’s official communication for the most accurate information.

Were You Injured in a Car Accident You Were Subpoenaed For? We Can Help

If you suffered an injury in a car accident, River Run Law is here to guide you through the process with expertise and compassion. We offer comprehensive support to car accident victims who have been injured in Virginia, including:

  • Investigating your claim,
  • Gathering evidence,
  • Negotiating with insurance companies, and
  • Advocating for your rights and ensuring your voice is heard.

Don’t face the legal system alone. Contact River Run Law today for a free consultation. We’ll help you confidently navigate this challenging time and ensure you have the support you need throughout your Richmond car accident case.

Where You Can Find Our Richmond Office Location

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Brooke Alexander

Brooke graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brooke worked for five years in private practice with a law firm specializing in insurance defense litigation before becoming the trial litigator for Allstate Insurance Company in the metro Richmond area.

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