Evidence is critical to any car accident claim, but physical and material evidence is not always enough. When the facts of a car accident are in dispute or the evidence is lacking, one way to establish the events of the accident is through a credible eyewitness. Witnesses can be essential to the success of a car accident claim when physical evidence is not sufficient to determine the events of the accident.
In many accidents, the only witnesses are the drivers themselves, which comes down to one driver’s word against the other. Naturally, both drivers believe the other to be at fault, making a credible witness the perfect third party to determine which driver is telling the truth. However, a credible witness is much more than an individual standing near the accident scene. The credibility of the witness is vital to the credibility of their testimony. Without credibility in the witness, their testimony won’t be worth much to either driver.
Understanding What Makes a Car Accident Witness Credible
Credibility refers to the believability and trustworthiness of the witness. A witness’s credibility is often as important as their testimony. If the witness does not seem trustworthy or believable, it negatively impacts the case their testifying is meant to help. If a witness takes the stand, they can significantly turn the case one way or the other, which is why it’s vital to understand what makes a witness credible. In general, the following are key factors that help determine the witness’s credibility.
- Clean criminal history
- Strong moral character
- Not a relative or friend
- Mentally and physically healthy
- Alcohol and drug-free at the time of the accident
- The consistency of the witness statements and testimony
- The witness’s location and visibility of the accident
- The witness’s demeanor and attitude at trial
- Whether the witness has any type of interest in a particular outcome of the case
Insurance adjusters, judges, and jurors are more likely to favor testimonies from credible witnesses. As the car accident victim, you have a substantial stake in the outcome of the claim making you biased and self-serving. The testimony of a credible witness can back up your story and help settle liability disputes.
What Can Negatively Impact a Car Accident Witness’s Credibility?
A non-credible witness can do more harm than good to your claim, so it’s important to be sure about a witness’s credibility before they agree to testify. Factors that impact a witness’s credibility include:
- The witness did not see the entire accident
- The witness was distracted at the time of the accident
- The witness gives inconsistent accounts of the accident
- The witness is related to one of the individuals involved in the accident
- The witness has a financial interest in the case
- The witness cannot articulate due to age, IQ, physical health, or mental health
If your car accident claim needs to go to trial, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of having a witness with your lawyer. Your attorney will know whether the witness is detrimental or beneficial to your case and advise you accordingly.
Work with Our California Car Accident Lawyer at Setareh Law
Setareh Law is a highly accomplished personal injury law firm committed to helping accident victims recover full and fair compensation throughout California. Our attorneys aggressively advocate for the rights and interests of every client and pride themselves on their personal care for their clients.
If you or a loved one have been in an auto accident caused by another party’s negligence, you are entitled to fair compensation for your pain and suffering. We are here to help guide you through the legal process and ensure that you make the right decisions for the viability of your claim. You can schedule a consultation through our website by filling out the contact form or calling (310) 659-1826. We also speak Spanish.