How Does Witness Credibility Impact a Car Accident Case?
By Harold Dwin on January 17, 2022 | In Auto Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible to seek compensation from the at-fault party through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. If anyone witnessed the accident, their testimony could be crucial to supporting your claim and bolstering your case. But how important is the credibility of the person who claims they saw your accident?
Below, we’ll discuss some of the elements that impact witness credibility and how witness credibility can influence a car accident claim.
Factors That Affect Credibility of Witnesses
Insurance adjusters are trained to protect the insurance company’s interests, so their goal is to pay out as little as possible. To achieve this aim, they will scrutinize every available piece of evidence, including eyewitness testimony. If you provide witness statements, they may challenge witnesses on several issues, such as:
- Consistency – If a witness constantly changes their version of events or is inconsistent in their recollections, that could affect their believability.
- Investment in your case – If you have a connection with the witness, that could present a conflict of interest and negatively impact the witness’s credibility. For instance, if the witness to the crash is someone you know, like a family member or friend, they might seem biased in your favor.
- Physical health – A witness’s physical health can also determine their credibility. For example, if a witness has impaired vision or wasn’t wearing their contact lenses at the time of the accident, the insurance company could call their recollections into question.
- Criminal record – If the witness has a criminal record, that could impact their credibility with the insurance company. The insurance adjuster may argue that if they have been dishonest in the past, they can’t be trusted to tell the truth now.
- Observations – The insurance company may challenge a witness’s statement based on what they saw. For example, they may question whether the witness saw the lead up to the accident or just the aftermath. They might ask whether the witness was paying attention at the time of the crash or whether they were distracted by something else.
The Importance of Credible Witnesses
Credible witnesses are important because the insurance company knows that each driver involved in the accident will have their own version of events slanted in their favor. Because both drivers want to avoid liability for an accident, they may tell two different stories about what occurred.
Bystanders who witnessed the accident could provide an objective view of what transpired. If their version of events corroborates yours, it can significantly strengthen your case. Credible witnesses will have no stake in your case because they don’t know you personally, and their statements about what they saw will be consistent and clear.
Getting Witness Information
If you can, you should get witness contact information at the accident scene. Ask bystanders who may have seen the crash for their full legal name, phone number, and home address. Your attorney can contact them later to get a statement as part of your claim.
If you cannot obtain witness contact details at the accident scene, you might find this information in the official police report. When law enforcement investigates the incident, they may draft an accident report that contains pertinent details about the accident, including witness information.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Maryland Today
The Owings Mills car accident attorneys at Cohen & Dwin, P.A., provide compassionate legal counsel to people injured in car accidents in our community. We are ready to investigate your crash, talk to eyewitnesses, and build a strong case on your behalf.
Contact us today to learn more about your rights and legal options. We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients.
Attorney Harold P. Dwin, co-founder of Baltimore premier law firm Cohen & Dwin, P.A., is proud to be able to help clients in need by simplifying complex legal matters and solving legal problems that cause immeasurable stress.