WITNESS TESTIFIES AT TRIAL USING "SKYPE"

Steinberg, Burtker & Grossman, Ltd.

The Illinois Supreme Court recently amended its rules to permitting personal injury attorneys and others to serve legal documents using e-mail. Most Chicago injury attorneys welcome this time and expense saving tool. These attorneys typically work on a contingent fee basis where “time is money”. Rather than wait days for “snail mail” to be delivered the internet shortens the time frame to “now”.

For the first time a trial court has permitted the testimony of a party to a lawsuit to occur using the popular internet video conferencing program “Skype”. The witness was bedridden from a stroke and the court permitted computers to be setup at his home and in the courtroom. The testimony was received just as if the witness was live in the courtroom.

Unlike evidence depositions where the testimony of a witness is taken by the opposing attorneys at a remote location before a court reporter or video camera for reading or replay at a later time, “Skype” permitted everyone the opportunity to hear the live testimony contemporaneously and permit the trial judge to make timely rulings. More importantly it permits the judge and jury the ability to weight the credibility of the witness something which is lost by the mere reading of a transcript.

Someday Chicago injury attorneys may be able to conduct a trial with witnesses in multiple locations perhaps from the comfort of their own offices? Medical malpractice attorneys can present the live testimony of doctors and other expert witnesses without the fear that their airplane flight may be delayed or cancelled.

Technology is a wonderful tool when used properly.

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WITNESS TESTIFIES AT TRIAL USING "SKYPE"