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Does an Injured Child Have to Testify in Court?

Updated on: 11/14/2019

But you never know for sure.

If a lawsuit has been filed to recover financial compensation for a child’s injuries, then there is a small chance that the child may be called to testify in court by the defense attorney.  

The age of the child does not necessarily determine whether a child can or should testify. In Washington, the admission of testimony by children under age ten is within the discretion of the trial court.

5 Factors That May Determine If A Child Must Testify In A Lawsuit

Children under age ten who appear incapable of communicating information, may not be considered competent to testify. Generally, a child may be held competent to testify if that child:

  1. Understands the obligation to speak the truth on the witness stand;
  2. Has the mental capacity, at the time of the occurrences concerning which the child is to testify, to receive an accurate impression of it;
  3. Has a memory sufficient to retain an independent recollection of the occurrence;
  4. Has the capacity to express in words a memory of the occurrence; and
  5. Has the capacity to understand simple questions about the occurrence.

Judge Will Decide If Child Must Testify

The final determination of whether the child is competent to testify will rest with the judge, who will evaluate and listen to the child, as well as consider the child’s demeanor and manner of testifying.

If you have questions about your child’s personal injury claim, you should speak to an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury matters.

The team of personal injury lawyers at Davis Law Group, P.S. offers free legal consultations to children who are victims of negligence and their parents in order to determine the best possible legal options for recovery. Contact our office today via the contact form on this page or by calling 206-727-4000.

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