Can I get a subpoena for being a witness to a non-fatal accident?

I witnessed a car accident and I stopped to see if the victims were OK. I then called 911 to get them help. Now, both parties are arguing over who is wrong. The man who was right has contacted me and wants to meet me. I told him that I saw what happened. The question is, can I get a subpoena to testify in court? I am a college student and I am very busy. I would be fine with producing a written or recorded statement. What is the likelihood of getting a subpoena? I would like to avoid appearing in court.

Asked on October 8, 2011 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The insurance adjusters from both parties' insurance companies will probably take your recorded statement.  This will be scheduled at your convenience.  It can be done by phone or in person.

If the case is settled with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, no lawsuit will be filed and you won't receive any subpoena.  If the case is not settled with the insurance company and a lawsuit is filed, there is a possibility you may receive a subpoena to testify at trial.  The possibility of this is small because even if a lawsuit is filed, most cases settle before trial and therefore there might not be any trial where you would be called to testify.

If a lawsuit is filed, this won't be for sometime; possibly several months or more than a year.  Then, it may take several additional months before the case gets to trial if it even gets that far.

If the case is settled without a lawsuit being filed, this won't happen until the injured claimants have completed their medical treatment and are released by the doctor, have obtained their medical records, medical reports, wage loss documentation, and have negotiated with the insurance company.  The medical treatment and attempts to settle the case might take several months.  If the case isn't settled, a lawsuit will be filed, but most auto accident cases are settled without even filing a lawsuit.  Then, as mentioned above, if a lawsuit is filed, it will take several additional months or possibly a year or longer before the case gets to a trial.  Again, most cases settle before trial.  The chances of you testifying at trial are slim and if it occurs it probably won't be for at least a year or two.


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