Witness Credibility: Can I Use Certain Witnesses After My Car Accident?
As the American Bar Association has stated, witnesses are one of the most important aspects, or the “meat and potatoes,” of trial. By looking at witnesses, a jury or a judge can get a better idea of what might have happened at the time of an accident and your statements can be backed up in order for them to determine if something actually happened the way that you said it did.
Witnesses are much more than the word that they give to benefit your case. Witnesses of car accidents stop at the scene of an accident every year, offering a helping hand to those who have suffered at the hands of another party and waiting by their side until professional help arrives. These individuals are absolutely essential to your case, but how do you know if your witness is credible and somebody that you can actually use in court? This can sometimes be difficult to dictate.
Is Any Witness Credible?
Not all witnesses are the same. For instance, the individual who doesn’t know you but saw your accident occur when they were sitting in the coffee shop across the street is a lot different from your nephew who was riding in your vehicle at the time of the crash. Even if a third party says that they saw every aspect of your accident take place, this does not mean that they are credible right off the bat, whether they know you or not. There are many different factors that must be considered.
In many cases, for instance, witnesses will react during a car accident by working to protect their interests. Let’s say that a witness claimed that they saw your accident because they were right behind you when it happened. Perhaps they swerved to get out of the way, and so the jury calls into question the fact that they might have been distracted due to your accident and might not have seen it the same way they claimed they did. Drivers always work to safely respond to events and then reflect on them soon after. This is why credibility is so important so that none of the information becomes skewed.
Some Factors That Impact Credibility
Here are just a few examples of aspects that might impact the credibility of your witness:
- A witness who was driving their vehicle and became distracted because they had to avoid your accident in some way;
- A witness who only saw what happened after the initial collision impact and not the moments leading up to it;
- A witness who did not observe either car and the driver’s actions before the accident;
- A witness who is relying on observations that others have made to tell their side of the story;
- Whether or not the witness is a convicted felon;
- The witness having a reputation for being dishonest; or
- The witness is a friend or family member who has an interest in the outcome of a successful claim.
These are all extremely important factors that might come into play when it comes to your claim and the credibility of your witness. Anything can happen, from a serious accident that nearly puts a witness’ life at risk, to a witness who thinks they saw an accident one way while another witness is telling a completely different story. If your witness falls through, you might be left on your own to pick up the pieces of your case, and nobody wants this to happen.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Because we believe in helping you get the best outcome in your personal injury claim, our experienced and compassionate attorneys at Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner are fully committed to helping you in your time of need. We have handled a wide variety of West Virginia car accident claims and helped victims piece their cases together so that they could move forward during one of the most challenging times of their lives. Please contact us at 304-431-4050 to find out how we can assist you in your time of need.