St. Louis car accident claims often rely upon the testimony of credible witnesses.
Sometimes, it all comes down to the witness. When each side has a different story about how a car accident took place, and the physical evidence is only circumstantial, a third-party recollection of events can be what makes or breaks a car accident claim.
It may even be one of the first questions an insurance adjuster asks at a meeting: were there any other witnesses? It’s important to note that generally a third party witness is considered someone with no relation to the drivers actually involved in the accident, so you need to establish that they have no gain from their testimony. Statements from one of the passengers may not hold much weight in these proceedings. However, even if there is a third-party witness, their credibility will be questioned.
What Is Witness Credibility?
Credibility refers to how much you can trust the statement of the witness. It’s not only about the person’s character, but the facts of their presence at the scene: how close they were to the collision or how clear was their line of sight. In these cases, the people close to the accident will obviously try to protect themselves, and not try to memorize all the details of the accident. So, it’s possible for the witness testimony not to be credible because the person does not fully remember (or cannot remember) all the details of the accidents.
If the witness was inebriated at the time, their testimony may easily be dismissed. Other factors that can prove a witness is not credible include:
- Witness criminal history;
- Reputation of false testimony;
- Witness interest in the outcome of the case, or bias against one of the parties;
- Witness medical records, particularly relating to eyesight;
- History of memory issues or confusion;
- Witness age – older witnesses may have a more difficult time seeing or remembering events.
How They May Affect Your Claim
If the entire case is based on witness testimony, and they are later proved to lack credibility, then the entire claim may be dismissed. Generally, witness testimonies should only be one piece of the puzzle, and you have to back up their statements with other evidence like photos, videos, police reports, and whatever else pertains to the case.
It’s best not to give the insurance company the name and contact details of your witness. Give this information to your St. Louis car accident lawyer and they can screen the witness to see whether they are credible or not and decide if it’s best to take their statement.
FREE Legal Advice 24/7
Car accident claims often rely on witness testimony, but it’s not the only thing that your St. Louis car accident attorney needs to win the case and get you a good settlement. You should provide everything you have from the accident to your attorney (medical records, reparations receipts, photos, etc.) to make sure your case is strong.
The first step is to get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.