Why Witness Credibility is Important in an Injury Case
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Sep 23, 2021 in Car Accidents
Witness testimony is often used to build a strong case for compensation. However, if your witness is not credible, the chances of convincing a jury or insurance company of the truth of the witness’s statements may not be very high, and the insurance company will pounce at the opportunity to undermine your claim.
Our South Bend auto accident lawyers are prepared to help you build a strong case and determine if witness statements may bolster your case. We know how to determine if a witness has good credibility. We have decades of experience securing compensation from insurance companies.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your claim and see what your legal options may be after an accident caused by the negligence of another.
Below, we discuss what makes a witness’s testimony credible and how the insurance company may try to undermine that credibility.
What Makes for a Credible Witness?
A witness is someone who paints a picture of either what occurred during the accident or what injuries you suffered. A jury may consider several factors when deciding whether a witness is credible, including:
- Whether he or she is biased toward one party over the other
- If the witness is set to gain financially
- If the testimony is clear and convincing
- Trustworthiness of the person
- Whether the evidence contradicts the testimony
- Whether the witness has poor eyesight
- Whether the witness is hearing impaired
- Whether the witness’s account seems credible
- If the witness’s statements are back up by other evidence or other witness statements
It is important to note that jurors often project their own biases onto witnesses. This means that credibility may sometimes be a subjective matter. This is when properly preparing witnesses prior to a deposition or trial may be crucial.
Are Expert Witnesses Always Credible?
An expert witness is generally someone who has extensive knowledge on a subject who may testify before a jury to fortify an aspect of your case. This may include your treating doctors or accident reconstruction experts, among others. However, the credibility of these types of witnesses may sometimes come into question in certain situations.
For example, the insurance company may try and undermine your treating doctor’s credibility as a witness if he or she agreed to treat you and wait to collect payment until you receive a settlement. The insurance company may say the doctor has a vested interest in the outcome of your claim.
Are Eyewitnesses Always Credible?
An eyewitness is someone who saw the events that occurred prior to the accident or saw the accident itself. These witnesses may include people like other drivers or bystanders in the area where the crash occurred, along with passengers in your own vehicle.
The credibility of an objective eyewitness such as a bystander is likely to be better than that of a passenger in your own vehicle. The insurance company is likely to emphasize the fact that a passenger in your vehicle is someone you know, so he or she would be biased toward your version of the facts and likely also stand to gain something if the case is decided in your favor.
Other drivers may have seen the crash, but the insurance company may say they could not have seen much because they were driving and trying to avoid getting involved in the crash.
The insurance company may also question the eyewitness’s view of the crash. They may say he or she had an obstructed view of the crash or was distracted by something else.
One of the most common ways insurance companies attack witness credibility is by showing differences between a witness’s deposition and testimony during the trial. Contradictory statements can damage the strength of your case.
Let Us Help. Call Us Today
If you try to bolster your claim with statements from witnesses, their credibility may be questioned by the insurance company, which could hurt your case.
That is why having an attorney who knows how to properly prepare a witness not just for trial, but a deposition, may be important. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling all sorts of injury claims and know how to use witness statements to strengthen a case.
Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we may be able to help you maximize your compensation after an accident.
There are no fees unless we win. Call us today at (844) 678-1800.