There are about 10 million of all kinds of car accidents reported each year, and the average American will get into a car accident once every 17.9 years. Unless there are witnesses to the accident, a lot of accidents are reported based on he said/she said claims. Both parties generally believe that they are not at fault for the accident, and at times, it can be difficult to determine fault even with forensic evidence. In these situations, witness testimonies can come in handy, which is why one of the first things you should always do is to get the contact information of any witnesses nearby. Unfortunately, not all witness testimonies may be used in court. Credibility plays a huge role. Here are 3 particular factors to be aware of.
The Witnesses' Characters
First and foremost, your car accident lawyer will need to determine your witnesses' characters before asking them to take the stand. This involves determining whether the witnesses have been convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors in the past or whether the witnesses have had any run-ins with the law in the past several years. It also includes determining whether the witness has a reputation for dishonesty. Your witnesses' occupation can play a huge role in determining their characters.
In addition to whether they have had any run-ins with the law or a bad reputation, your witnesses' character also depends on whether they have any interest in the outcome of the case. For example, if the witnesses are reputable members of the community, but are either your family members or friends, they may not be eligible.
The Witnesses' Physical Condition
Just because your witnesses claim that they were able to witness the accident in detail, it does not necessarily mean that they were able to witness the accident correctly or remember the accident correctly. The lawyers of the other parties involved may call your witnesses' physical condition into question. This includes determining whether any of your witnesses have poor eyesight or hearing, whether your witnesses were fully sober and whether your witnesses have a reputation for having a bad memory.
The Witnesses' Viewpoint of the Accident
Events move very quickly during a car accident, and witnesses are hardly credible unless they witnessed the accident from the start to the end. To determine your witnesses' credibility, your lawyer will also need to determine how much of the accident was witnessed and the location where the witnesses were at. Whether the witnesses had an obstructed viewpoint of the accident and whether the witnesses were fully paying attention will be called into question.
For example, if your witnesses were driving, the lawyers of the other parties may question whether your witnesses were paying full attention because they could have been distracted by the road. In addition, most lawyers will want to determine whether the witnesses had sufficient time to process the accident to notice whether any of the cars were speeding. The time when the witnesses clued into the accident also plays a role. Whether the witnessed observed the accident from start to finish or whether they only started paying attention at the sound of impact will make a difference.
Before calling witnesses to testify on your behalf regarding any details surrounding the accident, your car accident lawyer will want to interview them to determine their viewpoint and credibility. Your lawyer will also want to determine what the witnesses will say, and how they say it, as this may have a profound impact on the outcome of your case. If possible, get the contact information of more than one witness after an accident. This way, you will be able to pick and choose which witness is most credible for your cause.
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