How Witness Credibility Can Help or Hurt Your Car Crash Claim

witness speaking to policeAfter being involved in a car accident, there will be an investigation of what caused the crash. Police will typically speak to all drivers involved, as well as bystanders and other passengers who may have seen the accident.

Greg Coleman discusses witnesses for a car crash claim, including what can make a credible witness and what type of witness may negatively harm your claim.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another’s careless or negligent actions, we are prepared to help you pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. The case review we offer is free and carries no obligation to pursue a claim.

Why Do I Need a Witness After a Car Accident?

All drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident will have their own point of view about how a crash happened. It is usually difficult for an involved party to have an objective perspective on how the accident occurred, especially if both drivers may have contributed to the accident.

Having one or more third-party witnesses provide a statement about what they saw may help to support your claim. An accident investigator or other first responder will likely check to see if there were any witnesses who saw the accident. These statements often provide more clarity about a crash. If a witness’ statement supports your account of what happened, it also makes you appear more credible.

What Makes a Good or Credible Witness?

Not all witnesses are created equal, so it is important to vet a bystander’s credibility before including their statements to support your car accident case.

So what makes a witness credible – or not credible? Here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you make that determination:

Was the Witness Distracted at the Time of the Accident?

There are many things that could distract a bystander or other would-be witness while a car crash is occurring – even when it happens right in front of them:

  • Was the witness a pedestrian, bicyclist or other motor vehicle driver trying to avoid being involved in the accident?
  • Was the bystander walking a dog, talking to a friend, tending to a child or talking on the phone?
  • Was the witness standing or in a parked car and actually saw the whole accident?
  • Did the third-party witness actually see what happened or just came on the scene as it was ending and heard what happened from someone else?

Are There Physical or Mental Reasons the Witness May Not Be Credible?

Sometimes, through no fault of the bystander, he or she may simply not be a credible witness. Here are some situations when that may apply:

  • Does the individual normally wear eyeglasses or contacts, but was not wearing them at the time of the accident?
  • Did the accident occur at night when the bystander may have had difficulty seeing what happened?
  • Did the witness seem confused or inconsistent when talking about the accident?
  • Was the bystander visibly intoxicated or otherwise impaired when the incident occurred? 
  • Is the witness known to suffer from any type of Alzheimer's, dementia or other mental condition?

Is There Other Information About the Witness That May Impact Credibility?

Sometimes witnesses may a relative or friend of the other party who was driving. You can see how that would likely not make a good witness on your behalf.

Additional concerns about a potential witness may have to do with:

  • Character – does the individual have a reputation for honesty? Or is he or she better known for being deceptive?
  • Background – does the bystander have a criminal background? Even a petty theft would seriously damage a person’s credibility in this situation.

These are all important factors when considering whether a bystander’s testimony will help – or seriously damage – your claim.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer for Help

At Greg Coleman Law, we are prepared to carefully vet any potential witnesses to determine whether they may provide testimony that will help support your claim.

If you were injured because of another’s reckless actions, why leave your claim to chance? Our experienced car accident lawyers in Knoxville have been handling these cases for decades, and we are prepared to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

Find out if you may have a case by meeting with one of our qualified attorneys. There is no cost or obligation. We are also ready to answer any questions you may have about the legal process.

Millions Recovered. No Upfront Costs. (865) 247-0080