Getting the names, addresses, and contact info of any witnesses after getting into a car accident will be your top priority. In some cases, a witness statement may be all you need to prove your point in a car accident case.
However, the question is how to be sure that your witnesses are credible. What if the recollections of your witnesses end up hurting your case? How can you attack the credibility of a witness? Let’s find the answer to these questions.
Why do you need witnesses?
In any personal injury accident, both the jury and adjuster will think of the plaintiff and defendant as biased witnesses because both have a stake in the outcome. The plaintiff sues the defendant to get money, while the defendant doesn’t want to pay the plaintiff.
The neutral witnesses, however, do not have a stake in the outcome. The jury considers individuals who happened to be in the vicinity of the accident as the most crucial witnesses. That is why the jury tends to believe those neutral individuals more as long as they are credible.
What is credibility?
The credibility of a witness refers to his or her trustworthiness. A witness is trustworthy if his testimony and conduct seem fair and credible. If a witness is not credible, it wouldn’t matter what he says in front of the jury. Moreover, the untrustworthiness of a witness can hurt your case. Getting associated with such a witness will make you guilty by association. As a result, the jury will not believe your testimony either.
Things impacting a witness’s credibility
The following factors can impact the credibility of a witness.
- The testimony of the witness is inconsistent with the past statements.
- Whether or not the witness actually saw the events he or she testifies about remains questionable.
- The witness seems doubtful when recalling the incident’s events accurately.
- The witness appears to lie.
- The witness’s testimony seems inconsistent with evidence or other testimonies of the case.
- The witness appears to have an interest in the outcome.
- The witness had a prior criminal record.
These are all some common sense scenarios. The witness could not have a good look at the accident if he was far away from the scene. If he said “I don’t know” multiple times, then maybe he is not fully honest with the jury. If a witness is friendly to one side’s lawyer and hostile to the other, he might have some bias needing to be exposed by cross-questioning.
How can a lawyer attack the credibility of a witness?
Sometimes, you have to expose a witness’s bias to get things in your favor. Your car accident lawyer can cross-question that witness to attack his or her credibility. For instance, the car accident lawyer will bring it out if the witness testifies only in favor of the plaintiff or defendant. Moreover, the car accident lawyer will cross-question the witness to find if he or she is a friend of one of the parties.
Not to mention, the best way to attack the credibility of a witness is to confront him or her with previous inconsistent statements.
Finally, it is best to have a good car accident lawyer at your side. With the help of a skilled attorney, you will be able to fend off any undesirable outcomes in your car accident injury case.