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

How Police Reports May Play a Role in a Car Accident Case

obtaining a copy of policy report for your claimWhether you are involved in a serious accident or not, one of the most important things to do is calling the authorities to investigate what happened and filing a police report. A copy of the police report is needed if you decide to make a claim to pursue compensation for any injuries or damages caused by the negligent party. The insurance adjuster would need to review this report before an offer is determined.

If you have been hurt in a crash, we recommend reaching out to Sigman Janssen for legal help. A free consultation with our firm will allow you the opportunity to learn about the possible legal options available to you and allow us to answer questions you may have about the claims process.

Beneficial Information in a Police Report

A police report can contain vital information and lead to evidence that may establish the cause of the crash and your resulting injuries as well as how the two are connected. Proving this link is essential to pursue maximum compensation in a car accident case.

Useful information often found in police reports may include:

  • Basic details of the crash – The police report at the very least will contain the date, time and the exact location of the car accident.  
  • The other driver’s statement – The responding police officer will talk to you and the other driver involved to uncover what happened and who may potentially be at fault for the crash. 
  • Contact details from all parties –  The report will have contact information from the other driver, his or her insurer, and anyone else who may have witnessed the car accident.
  • Narrative of events – The police report will contain the police officer’s narrative of the events that lead up to and caused the crash as well as his or her own conclusions on the incident. 
  • Injuries and property damage – The report should contain a written description of the injuries you and the other driver suffered and any damage to vehicles or other property at the scene.
  • Traffic tickets or citations – The officer will report if a traffic ticket or citation was issued. This could be used to help show the other driver was negligent or careless in his or her actions.
  • Pictures and diagrams – The police report may include a diagram of the accident scene or pictures of the accident, injuries and vehicle damage depending on the severity of the crash.
  • Weather and road conditions – The report may also contain details about the weather or road conditions to help show that the other driver was not exercising reasonable care while driving.

If you are in need of quality legal representation, our Appleton car accident attorneys are ready to help determine whether you have a viable case. You may be eligible to seek compensation to help cover medical bills, vehicle repairs, or replacement of your vehicle, as long as you are not found to be more at fault than the party you are making a claim against.

Ways a Police Report Could Impact Your Case

There are numerous ways that a police report could impact your potential car accident case:

Settlement Negotiations

Insurance adjusters look closely at police reports and officers’ observations when evaluating claims. You and your attorney could use the report to help show that the other driver was clearly at fault, which may make it more likely to obtain a fair settlement offer.

Lead to Other Evidence

Although your attorney would conduct a separate investigation, the police report could provide him or her with other evidence, like an additional witness to the crash or another possible at fault party. The report may even help a hired accident reconstruction expert to reenact how the incident unfolded.

Can Police Reports Be Admitted as Evidence?

In a court of law, a police report is generally considered hearsay and therefore cannot be admitted as evidence in most cases. A police report is often inadmissible since the responding police officer did not personally witness the car accident. Notes written in these reports are taken from statements of those involved in the crash.

Although police reports typically cannot be used in a courtroom since they contain the officer’s opinion of what happened, anyone who may have witnessed the crash may be able to testify on your behalf. Statements could potentially be admissible as evidence if the witness testifies about the events he or she observed. 

Our Lawyers Are Ready to Help You

If you have been involved in a serious car accident, our lawyers at Sigman Janssen are here to help. We have assisted many accident victims pursue fair and full compensation for their injuries and damages.

An initial consultation is complimentary with zero obligations to take legal action. Should we represent you, there are no upfront fees. You only pay our firm if we help you recover compensation.

Have Questions? We Have Answers. Ph: (877) 888-5201