Having witnesses that can confirm the other driver’s negligence or the seriousness of your injuries can significantly strengthen your claim for compensation. However, not all people make strong witnesses, even when what they have to say supports your position. Here, we explain the importance of having credible witnesses on your side.
What Does Credibility Mean?
Credibility means how believable or trustworthy a witness is, and this can be as important as what he actually says. If he is not believable, what he says would be discounted by the insurance adjuster for the negligent driver and the jury. In a jury trial, you also run the risk that the testimony of any witnesses may be questioned by the jury if they are not credible.
Factors That Affect Credibility of Witnesses
While neutral individuals who do not know you or do not have a stake in the outcome of your claim are generally strong witnesses—even their credibility can be challenged. Here are some of the factors that can determine whether or not a witness is a believable one:
- Consistent statements. The consistency of what a witness says about your accident or injuries when giving statements or testifying in court is crucial to whether he is a credible witness.
- Witnesses observations. In a car accident case, what a witness was doing at the time he saw your crash can impact his credibility. Did he see the entire accident? Was he distracted because he was texting or talking on a cell phone? Was he a driver of another vehicle? These are all issues that can raise questions about what a witness to your accident saw.
- Interest in outcome. If a witness has an interest in the outcome of your case, such as a family member or another victim of the wreck, he may appear biased and less believable. Even co-workers and friends can be perceived as biased.
- Physical condition. The physical condition and health of a witness could impact on his believability. For example, if he suffers from poor vision or was not wearing prescription glasses, his credibility could be challenged.
- Criminal record. If the witness has a criminal record or a history of dishonesty, this could be used by the insurance company’s attorney to attack the credibility of your witness.
You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine whether your possible witnesses are credible or not and to build a strong case for the compensation that you deserve. To learn how our legal team can help you, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.