Can Witness Credibility Affect a Car Accident Claim?
A witness can be very important in a car accident claim. In most cases, the only witnesses in a car accident are the drivers of the vehicles involved—making it one driver’s word against the other. If each driver believes the other driver is at fault, their testimonies will not help determine the truth. This is where a third party witness becomes extremely important.
The Importance of a Car Accident Witness
When a car accident claim gets to the insurance company, the first question is, were there any witnesses other than the drivers? The adjuster knows that the drivers involved will have conflicting views of what happened. Therefore, the adjuster will need to decide which version of the accident is more accurate based on the statement of a third party witness.
Are All Car Accident Witnesses Credible?
A third party witness is helpful to a claim, but only if the witness is credible. The reasons for this are many.
Usually, people who see car accidents are not thinking about taking a mental inventory of the placement and movement of the vehicles involved for later review. More likely, especially if they are in their own car near the accident, they are concerned for their own safety and are trying to avoid getting into a crash themselves.
Things happen very fast in a car accident, including speeding cars and ones that run red lights. Split-second reactions are needed by everyone involved so they can respond to these events in a safe manner. Only when the accident is over, do people then try to put together what they just saw. This could make a third party observation unreliable.
What Factors Affect Witness Credibility?
Assessing the credibility of a witness requires the consideration of many factors. Some of these factors have to do with the location and viewpoint of the witness in relation to where the car accident took place.
- Was the witness driving a car and trying to avoid the accident? Or was the witness a pedestrian nearby on the sidewalk watching the accident as it happened?
- Did the witness actually see the accident from beginning to end, or was their attention drawn to the accident after the first sound of the crash?
- Was the witness distracted from walking their dog or caring for a child?
- Is the witness relying only on personal observations, or is the witness also relying on the observation of others?
- Is the witness a convicted felon?
- Does the witness have a dishonest reputation?
- Does the witness have an interest in the outcome of the claim due to the fact that a friend or family member was involved?
- Does the witness have poor eyesight or hearing?
- If the witness has poor eyesight, was the witness wearing their prescription glasses or contact lenses?
- Was the witness intoxicated at the time they saw the accident?
- Does the witness have a poor memory?
- Is the witness easily confused?
There are usually problems that develop just because people observe the events in different ways. For instance, one person might describe a car a having been speeding, while another person might say that that same car was going the speed limit. That doesn’t mean one of the witnesses is a liar, it just means that they have different opinions or perspectives and each draw their own conclusion.
It’s very easy to see that many variables affect the credibility of a witness. When taking an accident claim to an insurance company, it is important to provide all witness information as well providing the most credible and reliable witness available. If the witness is not credible, their testimony will not do much to help your case. It may even hinder your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please do not hesitate to contact us about your case. The Lieser Law Firm has represented many accident victims in Missouri and Illinois and we are here to help you.
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