When you’re in a car accident, most attorneys will advise you to get the contact information of any witnesses. While negotiating your case with insurance companies or defense attorneys, witness testimony can help prove that you were not at fault. However, it’s important that the witness is credible—otherwise, their testimony can do more harm than good.
“Credible” simply means that their account seems reliable and believable. They are unbiased, and there’s no reason to believe that they’re misremembering or lying about what they saw. For example, people under the influence of drugs or alcohol are often not credible witnesses. These substances can alter memory, vision and perception.
Factors Affecting Credibility
- Relationship to the plaintiff. Insurance companies will do their best to discredit witnesses, since they have a vested interest in paying out as little as possible. If your mom is the only witness to the accident, they’ll capitalize on that relationship as a reason she may be biased.
- Background and lifestyle. It’s not fair, but a person with a criminal history, history of addiction or other types of unreliability may not make a good witness. Your attorney will help by vetting all potential witnesses—and leaving out the ones who won’t help your case.
- Mental and physical state at the accident. As noted earlier, someone who was drunk or high during the accident will not make a credible witness, since substances affect their ability to perceive what happened. Similarly, a vision impaired person who wasn’t wearing their glasses would make a poor witness.
- Vantage point. Where was the witness standing when the accident occurred? If you go back to the scene, is it physically possible for them to see what happened? For example, if a witness swears that the other driver ran a red light, it’s helpful to know whether they actually saw the red light.
- Willingness to help. Finally, a witness’s willingness to help can affect their credibility. It’s usually a positive sign when a person proactively approaches you to let you know that they saw what happened and are willing to give you their contact information, or a statement to the police.
It’s not your job to identify which witnesses are credible and which aren’t—although you can let your attorney know if you have your doubts. A good personal injury lawyer will talk to witnesses beforehand and ensure that they seem trustworthy.
Talk to an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer Today
Have you been injured in a car wreck, thanks to someone else’s negligence? You shouldn’t have to bear the costs alone. If the other driver was negligent, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877.944.4373 for a consultation.