Car Accident Lawyer
An innocent person who was hit by another driver while sharing the road may consider filing a lawsuit for compensation. In order to get the most restitution possible, evidence must be brought forward to show the extent of injuries and how the other driver was at-fault. Witness statements can be used as support for your side of the story in how the accident occurred.
An attorney can help you decide whether a witness is reliable. Even though most witnesses probably have the best of intentions when providing a statement, certain factors may make them not entirely credible.
Talking with a Witness
At the scene of a car accident, it may initially feel awkward to approach a bystander asking for a witness statement. However, it can make the difference between being awarded what you need to recover in a lawsuit, or not having enough evidence to prove the driver was in the wrong. You can reassure the witness that you don’t need a statement right in that moment, but ask if they are willing to provide a name and contact number for their side of the story at a later time. Most people are good-natured and want to help someone who became the victim in a terrible accident.
The 3 Major Factors to Credibility
Not every witness is helpful to your case, as certain characteristics or past behavior may disqualify them from being a reliable witness. An attorney can contact the witness and ask questions, to figure out whether their statement should be used in the lawsuit. The three major factors that determine if a witness is credible include:
- Mental or Physical Limitations: If a witness has impairments or limitations, it can interfere with his or her ability to report a car accident accurately and coherently. For example, a witness who saw the accident happen but was a couple blocks away and has poor eyesight, may have flaws in his or her story.
- Past Criminal History: A witness that has been arrested and served jail time or faced other repercussions for criminal behavior, may not be someone who is always honest. Depending on the type of crime and how recent it happened, your attorney may recommend tossing out the witness’ statement.
- Inconsistent Testimony: When a witness answers the same questions differently when asked at varying times, his or her testimony is not considered reliable. Someone who is telling the truth is unlikely to change their story much at all. A witness with several versions of the car accident may hurt your case.
A car accident lawyer Woodland Hills, CA relies on would be happy to answer any questions you have about legal processes, including how to file a civil lawsuit against the driver who hit you or determining the best witness testimony for your case. Please call a lawyer today to book a consultation.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Barry P. Goldberg for their insight into witnesses after a car accident and personal injuries.