For many lawyers, the determination of who and how to take witness statements is made more for convenience sake than for optimum outcome in their case. Some of the choices that drive this decision making include where the witness(es) are physically located, what statements or reports have they already made or even the idea that it may be cost prohibitive to have a professional do it. Instead of using a private investigator, they will often ask a paralegal to take witness statements, skip the statement and simply subpoena the witness to attend a deposition or worse yet, just go without the witness statement at all. Rather than go this route, we recommend that you consider our top 5 reasons why you are better off having a private investigator take witness statements for you:
- Trained, professional private investigators can take a better statement than most. Many private investigators have years and years of experience in taking statements. They know how to avoid the common pitfalls and they understand what it takes to get someone to become comfortable, to let their guard down and to open up and give complete information. The best have also undergone professional training in witness statement taking.
- Private investigators can find witnesses faster and cheaper than the attorneys and paralegals. This specialized area, commonly known as “skip tracing”, allows the trained private investigator to find witnesses quickly and will save you time and money. Think about all the people who “stay” someplace for awhile and move on, those who were a witness and in the area at that time, but who do not live or work near the scene, the list gores on and on.
- A private investigator will be able to conduct a background check on the witness to determine if they are related to a party in the matter, if they have a history of criminal behavior and crimes of dishonesty, to even see what the witness has posted about the matter on social media or otherwise help determine if the witness if fit to provide accurate testimony. In some cases, this crucial step can make all the difference in your case.
- The private investigator is an impartial party and their involvement helps to bolster the credibility of the statement.
- Going straight to the subpoena route can backfire. Without some preliminary vetting, you can end up taking the deposition of a crazy person who will turn on your client, a person who is actually connected to a party and will testify in a manner that helps or protects their connection and lastly, for the average person, the act of being subpoenaed is scary and upsetting, leading them to harbor resentment or confusion that can affect their testimony negatively.
For assistance with obtaining reliable witness statements, we urge you to contact our investigative team. We are here to help and will be able to demonstrate how we can add value to your case before you decide to engage us.