How Does Witness Credibility Impact a Car Accident Case?

man just witnessed car accidentWitnesses who saw your crash and are willing to help with your claim can provide invaluable insight into what happened. Their testimony could help you prove the other driver’s negligence and/or the extent of your injuries, helping strengthen your claim for compensation.

Our attorneys at Sigman Janssen explain the importance of having a credible witness for your claim. If you were injured in a car accident, schedule a free consultation to learn how we could help. There is no obligation after this initial meeting to hire our firm, but if you do, there are no upfront fees.

Free Case Review. Call (877) 888-5201

Why Are Witnesses Important?

In a car accident case, the insurance company or jury will likely perceive anyone involved as a biased witness. This is because the injured party and the at-fault party have a stake in the outcome of the case. The injured party is looking to seek compensation for his or her damages while the at-fault party does not want to have to pay for these damages. Each party often has a different version of events.

Neutral witnesses, generally, do not have a vested interest in the result. These are people who happened to be in the area at the time of the accident. They do not have anything to gain by being dishonest or withholding information about the events that led up to the accident. Insurance companies and juries tend to trust the testimony of witnesses who appear to be unbiased if they are credible.

Witness Credibility in a Car Accident

Having a witness who supports your version of events after a car accident will not help strengthen a case unless he or she is credible. Credibility is about being believable and trustworthy. A witness’s credibility can be just as important as his or her testimony. Even if a witness testifies truthfully about what happened, his or her testimony may be ignored or dismissed if he or she does not appear credible.

A witness who is not credible could harm your potential case in several ways. It may cause the insurance company or jury to doubt other witnesses (i.e. medical experts). Your own testimony and statements may also be questioned, which could jeopardize your ability to secure fair compensation. Under no circumstances do you want to be associated with a witness who appears dishonest or unreliable.

Can You Have Too Many Witnesses?

A case does not necessarily become stronger because you have a lot of witnesses. For instance, say you have ten witnesses who are willing to write a statement or testify on your behalf, but many of these witnesses are not credible or have very different accounts of what happened. 

These witnesses will be less valuable to you and your potential case compared to having at least one neutral witness who is credible. Having witnesses that may be biased can actually cause more harm than good when seeking compensation.

Factors That May Affect Witness Credibility

Multiple factors may affect the credibility of a witness in a car accident case, such as:

  • Prior criminal record
  • Reputation for not being honest
  • Vested interest in the result (i.e. friends and family)
  • Memory problems or easily susceptible to being confused
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident happened

Other factors that can possibly impact a witness’s credibility include: 

  • Role the witness played – If the witness was another driver, the witness may not be credible because he or she should have been focused on driving and avoiding an accident.
  • Distance from the accident – A pedestrian or passenger in another vehicle who witnessed the accident from a safe distance may be deemed more credible than one involved in the accident.
  • Amount observed – If the witness only saw the aftermath but not the accident itself and what transpired beforehand, his or her testimony will likely be less credible.  
  • Vision or hearing issues – If the witness did not hear a driver honking or slamming on the breaks, his or her credibility could be disputed. Additionally, if the witness has poor vision or was not wearing his or her prescribed glasses, the witness’s perception may also be questioned. 
  • Consistent statements – Any statements made by a witness about the accident and your injuries must be consistent with anything he or she says to the police or under oath in court.

Get the Legal Help You Need Today

If you have been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer in Green Bay today. We can talk to witnesses to determine if their account of the crash may strengthen your claim. Our firm has helped many accident victims over the years obtain maximum compensation for their damages.  

Request a free, no-obligation legal consultation to get started. We charge nothing up front to use our services. We only get paid if we help you recover compensation through a settlement or verdict.

Find out if you have a case. Ph: (877) 888-5201