Types of Witness Testimony

Corroborating Testimony

Lay testimony is often helpful in corroborating your testimony. For example, your attorney might ask questions, such as:

Q: Tell me how often you are able to observe the claimant.
A: Every day.
Q: You have heard the claimant’s entire testimony, correct?
A: Yes.
Q: Suppose I ask you the same questions that I asked the claimant. Would your answers be more or less the same as the claimant’s answers?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you believe the claimant has testified truthfully here today?
A: Yes, I believe he has.

Before and After Testimony

Testimony regarding your condition from before your disability started compared to how your disability affects you now is called “before” and “after” testimony. Lay witnesses are sometimes asked to provide “before” and “after” testimony.

However, lay testimony from your wife that you have emphysema, are disabled, and that the two of you are in dire straits, is not particularly helpful. This type of testimony merely offers conclusions, rather than providing the factual observations needed by the court.

A better approach may be for your wife to testify that she has known you for 19 years, has been married to you for 16 years and that you are a hard worker, but that you became upset and anxious because you can no longer work to provide for the family, and that she has had to get a job.

She should also testify about her observations of your symptoms and how they limit your activities, particularly your work ability. Your spouse can also testify about your medical treatments. For example, she can describe with great detail how you wake her up some nights with your coughing, that you cannot easily lift a gallon of milk from the refrigerator, that you recently dropped your grandchild, or that you use a breathing machine regularly and still have difficulty breathing after walking to the mailbox in front of your home.

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