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In a civil trial, does the defendant (the person accused of causing an accident or malpractice) have to testify?


A: A civil trial is much different than a criminal trial. In a criminal trial the accused defendant has the choice to testify or not. Many times the accused defendant in a criminal trial will choose not to testify, because if they did testify, they'd have a hard time explaining away facts in the case. In a civil case the defendant almost always testifies to give detailed explanations about what he did and why. In some cases a witness is unavailable or may have died. In that case, we will usually have taken their testimony before trial, called a deposition, or an examination before trial. This way we preserve their testimony so we can use it at trial.