Can I subpoena my friend who witnessed a personal injury and refuses to sign an affidavit?

by admin on August 8, 2010

I had two people (friends of friends) hit me in the face with a beer bottle, breaking my front tooth in a bar last year. A piece chipped off the bottom, but there was a hairline fracture in the root. I already had the root canal done a week after it happened, but now the dentist says I need a crown soon. I don’t have the money for this and I have repeatedly asked the two parties nicely for compensation. My nerves are wearing thin, so I’m planning to sue them since they have repeatedly ignored me before the statute of limitations is up in my state (Virginia). It’ll be in small claims court since I’m only asking for ~00 to cover the root canal that was already done and the crown that needs to be done.

I have all the physical evidence supporting my case (copies of bills, x-rays, dentist notes, etc). The only thing I don’t have that I need is a witness statement from my best friend who was sitting 4 or 5ft behind me when it happened and saw the whole thing.

Problem is this "best friend" and I are having mostly unrelated issues with our friendship right now. All our problems seemed to snowball after my tooth got broken. She’s very uncooperative and doesn’t want to sign an affidavit saying what she saw that night because she doesn’t want to start "drama" in the group.

Can I (or the court) subpoena her and compel her to testify in a small claims court to what she saw that night that might be relevant to my suit?

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lari1307 August 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm

yes you can, but she can lie and say she saw nothing, or change the whole scene to put you in the wrong. But then that is giving false testimony and punishable by law. so i would look for a way to prove what she saw and find someone else that was there. this kind of group always makes more than one enemy.

regerugged August 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Yes, she can be subpoenaed. When you file your complaint, the clerk will make out a subpoena. They are usually mailed by return receipt requested mail.

You should also sue the bar for lack of security. If the attackers were visibly intoxicated, you can make a liquor liability claim.

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