After a car accident, a witness can be very helpful. The other driver might accuse you of being at fault for the accident and the witness can testify on your behalf. However, you will need to be able to prove that the witness is credible and one obstacle you might encounter is that the insurance provider argues that the witness lacks credibility.
Why a Witness Might Be Accused of Lacking Credibility
The witness might have a history of lying to the police and insurance providers. If the witness has a criminal record, this can also be used as evidence that they cannot be trusted. For this reason, it's a good idea to find as many witnesses as possible so you can make sure that the witnesses you have will be able to testify on your behalf.
The witness should be coached by your auto accident lawyer on how to behave. For example, if the witness could be perceived as being hostile toward the other driver. Or, the witness might make statements that are inconsistent. In some cases, such as with the elderly, inconsistent statements may be used as evidence that the witness is confused.
Your Relationship to the Witness
If you have a previously established relationship with the witness, this may be used as evidence that your witness cannot be trusted. If an individual is a friend or family member, the insurance adjuster might argue that they are biased. Also, there might be some other reason the witness would have an incentive to give a biased account on your behalf.
The Ability of the Witness to See the Crash
The witness must have seen important elements of the crash. For example, the witness may have seen the crash but may not have witnessed that the driver ran a stop sign. However, when working with an auto accident attorney, you may able to gather together enough witnesses who may be able to piece together what occurred.
Some witnesses hear a crash and then investigate to find out what happened. These types of witnesses are seldom helpful unless there is a dispute involving something that the witness would have seen after the accident.
The Mental State of the Witness
If the witness was very upset or distressed, the insurance adjuster might argue that the witness is not reliable. Also, if the witness was drunk or under the influence of drugs, or there are any other factors that might affect the credibility of the witness, you must discuss this with an auto accident attorney.