Sometimes, in a car accident, you might not be sure about the credibility of a witness. When you suffer an accident in Atlanta, GA, you can recover damages only if you can prove that the other driver was liable for the crash. This involves furnishing evidence to support your version of events. An important type of evidence that can help you claim is statements from eyewitnesses. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you get these statements in support of your claim.
However, witness statements must meet a certain criterion in order for them to be useful. More specifically, the veracity of an eyewitness statement typically rests on the credibility and trustworthiness of the witness.
Importance of Witness Credibility
The credibility of a witness determines whether or not the statement given by that witness will support your claim. If the witness is genuinely credible, a jury is likely to believe the statement. This makes an insurance company take the statement into account and negotiate with you accordingly even when the case hasn’t yet gone to trial.
On the other hand, if the witness isn’t credible, an insurance company knows that the statements from the witness are not likely to affect the legal position of the case. In such a case, the insurer or the jury is unlikely to be affected by what the witness says. In fact, a witness that is not credible may reflect poorly on your claim and diminish your chances of a successful settlement.
Factors That Impact Witness Credibility
A number of factors can impact the credibility of a witness in Atlanta car crash claims. These factors include:
If a witness has a criminal record, this can affect witness credibility. This remains true even if the crime the witness committed was completely unrelated to the accident itself. The defendant’s legal counsel can cite the witness’ criminal record to make their statement questionable in the eyes of the court.
Activity at the Time of Crash
For a witness statement about a crash to be credible, it is important that the witness had an unobstructed, clear, and close view of the accident. If the witness was running or moving or otherwise distracted or obstructed, questions can be raised regarding the credibility of the witness’ narration of events.
Relationship With the Plaintiff
In general, witness statements given by the relatives or friends of the plaintiff are not taken seriously, even if they are true or accurate. This is because it is expected that anyone related to you will be naturally biased when providing an eyewitness account of a crash in which you were hurt.
History of Fraud
If a witness has lied to the police, insurance companies, or a court previously, his or her statement is not likely to be believed. The other side will use this history to have the witness’ statement discarded. Even when it is not formally rejected, such an objection makes the statement untrustworthy in the eyes of the jury.
Faculties of the Witness
In order to witness a crash and record its events, a witness must have functioning and robust faculties. Someone who is hard of hearing, for instance, may not be relied upon to have heard screeching and banging sounds associated with an accident. Similarly, a person with poor eyesight can’t be relied upon to have identified a driver from the distance.
Witness Activities Before the Crash
As important as it is to ensure that a witness could clearly and fully see the crash when it occurred, it is also important to know what the witness was doing just before the crash. Did the witness turn around when the vehicles collided or was the witness facing the vehicles before the crash as well? How long did the witness see the vehicles before the crash? Was the witness distracted by anything just before an accident? These are all aspects that can impact witness credibility.
A witness who was consuming alcohol or was otherwise under the influence at the time of the crash will likely be deemed unreliable in court.
Why Hire an Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer?
If you have been injured or suffered property damage in an Atlanta crash, we can help you. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, our lawyers work with you to speak with witnesses, see if they are credible, and then prepare them for a formal statement. This ensures that any witnesses you use to support your claim are truly useful to your case. Call us today to discuss your Atlanta crash claim with our lawyers.