There are various forms of evidence that may impact a car accident claim. Evidence that stems from an objective source is often stronger than subjective evidence, such as your own opinion about how the accident was caused. This is why witnesses often play an important role in car accident claims.
Below, our experienced Windsor car accident lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners discuss why witness credibility is important in these cases. If you have been involved in a car accident, request a free consultation to see how we may be able to help.
Importance of Having a Witness
While drivers have a vested interest in the other driver being found liable for the crash and in maximizing their damages, innocent bystanders are typically objective. They do not stand to gain anything by being dishonest about the events leading up to the collision. They can often be trusted to provide an honest account regarding the accident.
When two or more drivers have different versions of events, a witness can often lean the claim in one direction or another. The insurance adjuster may determine which account is more accurate based on the account of third-party witnesses.
Understanding Witness Credibility
Credibility is how trustworthy or believable a witness is. While you may provide testimony to support your own version of events, an insurance adjuster or jury may consider your testimony biased, since you are directly impacted by the outcome of the claim. This is why it is important that you have neutral witnesses who can support your version of events and how the accident impacted you.
However, having more witnesses does not necessarily make a case stronger. For example, if you have 10 witnesses who are not credible, this is likely less valuable than having one neutral witness who is credible. In fact, having witnesses who are not credible may actually harm your claim by associating you with dishonest or unreliable people.
Factors that Impact Credibility in a Car Accident Claim
There are several factors that may impact a witness’ credibility in a car accident claim. These factors include:
- A reputation for being dishonest
- A prior criminal record, especially for an offense that involves dishonesty
- Any interest in the outcome of the case, such as supporting the testimony of friends or family or benefiting financially
- Cognitive problems such as being easily confused
- Any impairment at the time of the accident
There are also factors that may specifically affect a person’s credibility as a car accident witness, such as:
- Role of the witness – It may be important whether the witness was in one of the vehicles because he or she may know the motorist personally. If the witness is another motorist, he or she may have rightfully been focused on his or her own driving and line of sight.
- Distance from the collision – If the witness was a bystander such as a nearby pedestrian who saw the accident but was not close enough to be in danger, he or she may be considered more credible than a witness who was distracted or in fear for his or her own safety.
- Amount of observation – It is also important how much of the accident the witness observed. If he or she only saw the aftermath, his or her testimony about how the accident happened may not be credible.
- Hearing or vision problems – If the witness could not hear if someone was honking, this may impact his or her credibility or perception of the accident. Likewise, if the person had poor eyesight or was not wearing prescribed eyeglasses or contacts at the time of the collision, the witness’ credibility may be affected.
- Consistent statements – The insurance adjuster or jury may compare statements that the witness made at different times, such as when talking to the police officer and any testimony he or she gives in court to determine how credible the witness is.
Reach Out for More Information
If you were harmed in a car accident, our lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners are prepared to investigate your situation and help identify witnesses who can help support it. We are here to assist you with every aspect of the claims process.
We offer free initial consultations and provide in-depth services through email and over the phone. There are no upfront costs to utilize our services. You only pay us if we help you obtain compensation.
Learn about your rights and legal options by calling (866) 320-4770.