New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

In a personal injury case, can a plaintiff be asked to leave the courtroom by his lawyer?

Posted on Mar 30, 2015 in Personal Injury FAQs

You have every Right to be in the Courtroom

You have filed a personal injury case, and your case has gone to trial. Will there be an instance where your own lawyer can ask you to leave the courtroom, while the testimony is going on?

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Your lawyer is acting in your best interests so they may ask you to leave the courtroom under special circumstances.

The answer is yes, there can be an instance, where your lawyer could ask you to leave the courtroom physically. As a litigant, meaning someone who has brought a lawsuit since they are an injured victim, you have every right to participate and be in the courtroom every single day. You have every right to hear all the testimonies that come up at your particular trial and you are entitled to sit in the courtroom the entire time.

Your Lawyer can ask You to Leave the Courtroom

However, there can be one instance where your lawyer can ask you to leave the courtroom. Your lawyer will do this when he wants the jury to hear something that he does not want you to hear. There could be a circumstance where your lawyer wants certain testimony to come out, which could be extremely embarrassing or upsetting to you in terms of hearing that testimony. Your lawyer would not want you to break down in front of the jury while you are sitting in the courtroom watching the particular testimony.

Instead, your lawyer would want you leave. In fact, the jury will recognize and understand immediately when they see you get up and leave the courtroom. After you have left, your lawyer will go ahead and extract the required testimony from the particular witness.

A Profound Moment

Once the witness starts narrating something that is very sensitive or personal, the jury will clearly understand why you left the courtroom. The jury would not have known that your lawyer has asked you to leave the courtroom, but they will clearly get the impression that the information they are learning is so sensitive and that is why you would have left the courtroom.

Therefore, you need not be surprised if your lawyer walks up to you during the trial and asks you to leave the courtroom. Most likely your attorney may talk to you before the questioning begins that he wants you to walk out before he targets the person on the stand with a certain line of questioning.

He has your best interests in mind, and he would not want to give you a detailed explanation at that point. Your lawyer would want not to be present because he is going to attain testimony that is clearly going to be very personal, traumatic, or frustrating for you to hear. It would be like being victimized all over again. Even the person on the stand will know that is a serious moment in the case.

Lawyers often do this in cases involving young children, who have been devastated from the horrible tragedies that have occurred. For example, the parents could have been seriously injured and the medical expert is testifying to the jury about the condition of these victims (the parents). Such testimony could be gut wrenching to hear for any child or person for that matter.

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