What Is The Credibility Of Witnesses In A Car Accident Case?
If you suffered an unfortunate car accident, you would certainly get the names and other details of the witnesses to that accident. In closed cases, you would need witnesses as evidence to prove that the accident happened exactly as you narrated.
However, can you be very sure that your witnesses are credible? What if the recollections of your witnesses hurt the case? Can you attack the credibility?
Importance of Witnesses
In a car accident or personal injury case, the insurance adjusters or juries may think that the parties involved, i.e. the plaintiff and defendant, are biased because there is a stake involved. The plaintiff is, after all, suing the defendant and claiming money for damages. The defendant, on the other hand, does not want to pay to the plaintiff.
However, neutral witnesses do not have a stake. Hence, they are so important to the jury – the people who were in close vicinity of the site of the accident. Theoretically, neutral witnesses do not have any stake. As such, juries believe their testimony and find it credible too.
In legal times, credibility is trustworthiness. If the testimony, as well as the demeanor of a witness, convinces you that you can trust him/her, then it is a credible witness.
The credibility of a witness is the most important factor for testimony. If the witness is not believable, the testimony holds no value. If a witness is not credible, it could damage the case. You do not want to be a part of such a mess.
Factors Affecting the Credibility of A Witness
Some important factors affecting the credibility of a car accident case are:
- Testimony of the witness at the trial should be consistent with the past statements of testimony
- Did the witness see or hear the events about which he/she has testified
- Did the witness appear to recall the events
- Is the witness’s version plausible
- Is the witness lying
- Is the witness’s testimony consistent with the other statements or evidence in that case
- What is the attitude and demeanor of the witness at the trial
- Does the witness have any prior criminal record
These are basic, but important concepts.
For instance, if the witness was far from the accident scene, it is obvious that the witness did not have a good look at that moment.
How Can A Lawyer Attack the Witness’s Credibility?
The only way to attack the credibility of a witness is during the cross-examination. If the witness were an expert, good lawyers would hammer away from the expert’s fee. If the expert witness testifies only for plaintiffs, or defendants, in car accident cases, the lawyer can bring it out. If the witness turns out to be a friend or acquaintance of either of the parties, a good cross-examination can bring that out.
The most important technique to attack credibility is to confront a witness with prior inconsistencies in statements. If the same witness testifies during the trial that the defendant went through the green light, but the same witness calls it the red light at deposition, the witness is not credible anymore.
If your cause is all set to go for trial, get advice from a reputed lawyer at 1120 Pacific Ave, Suite 106 Tacoma, WA 98402.