Witnesses are often a key part of an accident claim because their testimony could help corroborate your version of events. This is one reason why the insurance company will likely try to attack the credibility of any witness you produce during your claim.
Below, we discuss why the credibility of these witnesses matters to your claim and what factors make for a credible witness.
If you need help filing a claim and gathering credible witness testimony, you should contact our Fort Worth auto accident attorneys today. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
What Role Does a Witness Play in a Crash Claim?
The role of a witness in a crash claim is to provide an objective statement about the events that occurred before, during and after an accident.
Depending on where witnesses were when the incident occurred, they might have seen different elements of a crash. Since these individuals are not related to those involved in the crash, their statements are considered objective. Therefore, their testimony may carry more weight with the insurance company. Witness statements may also help to provide a fuller picture of how the crash happened and the injuries you sustained.
For example, a bystander not involved in the crash could possibly retell the events that occurred before and during the collision. An expert witness, however, could discuss other details about the crash that require more specialized training and knowledge. For instance, your treating doctor can relate the extent of your injuries after the accident.
Why is Credibility Important in a Crash Claim?
Because witnesses are such an important piece of evidence, their credibility is vital to separating fact from fiction.
The first thing the insurance company will do when you introduce a witness during your accident case is to try and inject doubt into his or her testimony. An example of how insurers may do this is by trying to convince the jury that your witness is lying. If the jury buys into the insurance company’s assessment, it could be extremely detrimental to your chances of recovering compensation.
On the other hand, successfully establishing your witness’ credibility could help ensure you recover the compensation you need because the jury is more likely to believe his or her testimony. When witnesses are deemed to be credible, there is also a greater chance the insurance company might offer a fair settlement to avoid the possibility of losing in court.
Who is Considered a Credible Witness?
A credible witness is someone who may be able to provide an objective narrative of events. Someone who would not stand to lose or gain anything from the outcome of the case. For example, a bystander or driver in another vehicle who was not involved in the collision in any way.
The insurance company will likely try to dismiss the credibility of a witness who was in the passenger seat of either vehicle. He or she has reason to lie about the crash to help his or her own claim for compensation.
The insurance company might also dispute the credibility of a doctor who treated you but, due to a letter of protection, has not yet been paid. In this scenario, he or she also has a vested interest in the outcome of the case.
What Factors Might Undermine Witness Credibility?
Credibility comes down to whether a jury can believe the person’s story.
Some factors that may undermine the credibility of a witness include:
- Criminal history
- History of deceptive practices
- Cognitive difficulties
- Vision problems
- Conflicting testimony
- Failure to disclose vested interests in the case
The insurance company might even go as far as claiming the witness did not have a clear view of the accident due to some obstruction in the area.
For expert witnesses, the person’s objectivity may be attacked since these people are often paid by the party requiring their services. For example, when liability is questionable, the injury victim’s attorney might hire an accident reconstruction specialist to help determine how the collision occurred.
Need Help Filing a Lawsuit in Tarrant County? Call Us Today
If the insurance company is trying to attack the credibility of witnesses in your accident claim, you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney as soon as possible.
Our knowledgeable lawyers know what steps to take to help protect the credibility of witnesses and the value of your claim. Do not let the at-fault party escape accountability because your witness’ credibility was attacked by the insurance company.
Call (817) 920-9000 to schedule a free consultation.