After an accident, it is a good idea to seek the account of any person that witnessed the collision. However, it is equally important to understand that not every witness account will help your case. In some instances, a witness can hurt a personal accident claim, particularly when it comes to their credibility or lack thereof. Before you put your claim for compensation in jeopardy, make sure you assess just how reliable the witness is.
The legal team representing the party presumed to be at fault will want to know how you know the witness. For example, is the witness a stranger or your friend that works in the area of the crash. A relationship with a witness does not make a testimony less credible. However, if there are any holes in their story, the other party could argue that the person is embellishing their account to favor your claim.
Where the witness was at the time of the crash can greatly affect the reliability of their statement. The reason it is so important to understand where a person was in proximity of the crash is that it will also help determine what the person could have seen and what they would not have been able to see. If the person was standing behind a tall object, such as a bush or even slightly around the corner at the time of the crash, their testimony might come into question.
It is also important to understand what the person was doing at the time of the crash. Generally speaking, the most credible witnesses are those people who are sitting on a bench or standing on the sidewalk at the time of impact. A witness that was driving, riding a bicycle, jogging, or even walking their dog can have their testimony deemed less than credible since their actions were likely to have them distracted at the time of the crash, and therefore unable to see exactly what happened.
Whether or not the witness has a criminal record can also, unfortunately, affect the credibility of their statements. Typically, if the witness has a criminal record, the other party's legal team might argue that because the individual committed crimes in the past, they may have no remorse for committing another crime and giving a false statement on your account. If the victim in the crash also has a criminal record, the other party might even argue that the victim and the witness are working together.
Are you unsure if a witness will hurt or help your case? Consider reaching out to an auto accident attorney to learn more.Share