How Witness Credibility Affects Car Accident Claims
Boston is a busy city with many drivers, which results in a lot of car accidents occurring every day. Over 300 fatal car accidents occurred in Massachusetts last year, and many more non-fatal ones of varying levels of severity are not included in these statistics. If you are filing a car accident claim, you will want witnesses to support your account of events.
Witness credibility is important in all legal matters, but especially for car accident claims, where witnesses are key in avoiding the situation of pitting one involved driver’s account against another’s. In car accident claims, the usual concerns about the witness’s character and physical condition are still important, but there are other factors specific to these cases that can make witnesses more or less credible.
In general, a credible witness:
- Has no felony convictions.
- Has no reputation for being dishonest.
- Has a good memory.
- Has acceptable vision or hearing, whether he or she is using correction tools such as glasses or hearing aids at the time of the accident or not.
- Is not a friend or family member of anyone involved in the case.
- Is not easily confused.
- Is not drunk or otherwise intoxicated.
With car accidents in particular, witnesses should not be other drivers. Other drivers are usually more focused on avoiding the accident rather than observing it.
Other Conditions Affecting Witness Credibility
If the witness was not another driver, consider whether the witness was able to see the entire accident and accurately assess the causes. If the witness only saw the accident itself (not the events preceding the crash), he or she may not be able to credibly assess fault. The same goes for witnesses whose attention was only drawn when they first heard the accident. These witnesses cannot offer a complete assessment of the conditions leading up to the accident. Distracted witnesses also fall into this category, since they are more likely to have been paying attention to the distraction than to all the factors relating to the accident.
Finally, consider whether the witness is relating only personal observations or someone else’s. If a witness was with another person, this other person’s observations may influence the primary witness’s reconstruction of events, which limits the credibility of the testimony.
Making certain that your witnesses are credible is an important step in any legal process. A non-credible witness can do more damage to your case than having no testimonies at all. Even with credible witnesses, your opponent may also have eyewitnesses that might make what seemed like a simple case into a far more complex process.
Rely on Expert Legal Counsel to Fully Utilize Witness Testimony
Fortunately, you do not have to make the determination of witness credibility on your own. For those living in the Boston area, the firm of Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, specializes in all forms of automobile accidents. We understand that no matter how simple an accident may appear, there can be significant financial and health repercussions. With two attorneys rated “excellent” by Avvo, and one who has been designated as the “Most Powerful” lawyer in Massachusetts, we will bring all our experience and abilities to bear on your case.
Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, will make certain you get the best possible resolution to your car accident suit. We will assess the credibility of all witnesses, not just yours, and make certain that the accounts match the physical evidence of the case. We will support you in the courtroom and work our hardest to win the settlement you are entitled to.