Oath Definition in Personal Injury Law
When you take an oath, you are agreeing to perform an act or tell a story truthfully and in good conscience. By definition, an oath obligates you to tell the truth or act in a faithful way. In many cases, the law binds you to do so after taking an oath in a courtroom or other legal setting.
If you are facing a court case, contact the attorneys at Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400. We can help you understand what to expect from the legal process.
Taking an Oath in Court or for Your Court Case
You probably know the phrase, “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is the sworn oath many courtrooms use before the testimony of a witness in a criminal trial or civil suit. Unlike in the movies and on television, not all courtrooms utilize this particular oath. The concept is the same, though. A clerk of the court or another official administers an oath and the witness repeats after them.
There may be some situations where you will need to take an oath outside of court. You will sign an oath if you complete written interrogatories in a civil case or if we need to submit written testimony called an affidavit. We can help you understand what these oaths mean and help you provide the most accurate information possible.
What Happens If You Violate an Oath?
If someone took an oath and then proceeded to lie in their testimony—whether in an affidavit, deposition, or during a trial—this is perjury. Perjury is a crime. Anyone guilty of committing perjury might face charges and prosecution. If convicted, they may have to pay fines or even spend time in jail.
It is important to note that it is only perjury if the witness knowingly lied under oath. This means it is not a crime to misremember information or be unsure of an answer. This gives an attorney many ways to build a strong defense for someone accused of perjury. Of course, you should still always try to stick to the facts and tell the truth when under oath.
Other Legal Uses of Oaths
There may be some other situations where a person must take a legal oath outside of the courtroom. Members of the military, for example, take an oath of allegiance to protect the Constitution. Elected officials also often take an oath as a part of the “swearing in” process.
In some cases, people may be uncomfortable taking an oath because it goes against their religious beliefs or other deeply held convictions. In these cases, the court may use an affirmation instead. This is a statement that requires the witness to agree to tell the truth, but does not ask them to swear to do so.
Berger and Green: Personal Injury Lawyers on Your Side
At Berger and Green, our seasoned personal injury attorneys will ensure your rights remain protected throughout the claims process. We can offer guidance on affidavits and testimony, as well as the rest of the civil lawsuit process. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to schedule your complimentary consultation and learn how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.