How the Credibility of Witnesses Can Impact a Personal Injury Case

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on October 26, 2020 and updated on March 15, 2022.

woman looking at a cell phoneProving your right to injury compensation in a personal injury case requires certain evidence. This includes pictures of the accident scene, your injuries and damage to property, your medical records and any police and/or accident report filed. Having witnesses who may have seen the accident and the events leading up to you being injured could also play an important role in these cases.

Our Maryland personal injury lawyers further discuss how having the right witness and making sure he or she is credible could impact your chances at pursuing fair compensation. If you were injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, get the legal help you need during a free legal consultation.

Why Witnesses Are Important

In a personal injury case, an insurance adjuster or jury member will likely think that any party involved in an accident would be a biased witness. This is because the injured party has an invested interest in seeking maximum compensation for his or her damages, and the at-fault party does not want to have to pay compensation for these damages. Either party may also often have a different version of events.

Neutral third-party witnesses, on the other hand, have no stake in the outcome. These are individuals who happened to be nearby the scene of the accident. They do not stand to gain anything by lying about what transpired in the moments leading up to the accident. Insurance companies and juries often trust the testimony of witnesses who seem to be neutral and unbiased.

What Makes a Witness Credible?

Having witnesses does not necessarily strengthen a case unless they are credible. Credibility is how believable or trustworthy a witness is. While a witness may be providing an honest account of what occurred, he or she may dismissed if he or she does not appear credible.

Having a witness who is not credible could hurt your potential case by causing a jury member or insurance adjuster to doubt other witnesses (i.e. medical experts), your testimony and statements presented. You do not want to be linked with a witness who appears to be dishonest or unreliable.

Factors That May Impact Credibility in Injury Cases

There are many different factors that could impact the credibility of a witness in a personal injury case:

  • A reputation for not being honest
  • A previous criminal record
  • An interest in the outcome of the case, such as a friend or family member of the victim
  • Is confused very easily or has memory issues
  • Any impairment when the accident happened

Other important factors that could affect an individual’s credibility as a witness include:

  • Role witness played – If the witness was another driver, he or she may not necessarily be reliable because he or she could have been focused on driving and avoiding the accident.
  • Consistent statements – A witness must be consistent in what he or she says about the accident and your injuries when giving statements to the police or testifying in court to appear credible.
  • Distance from the accident – If the witness was a pedestrian or bystander who saw the accident from a safe distance, he or she may be deemed more trustworthy versus a witness who may have been distracted or fearful of his or her safety.
  • Length of observation – Sometimes a witness may not have seen the accident when it occurred, only the aftermath. He or she may provide testimony based on the observations and opinions of others who did witness the accident. In any case, these witnesses will be less trustworthy.
  • Poor eyesight or hearing – The health and physical condition of a witness may come into play. If he or she did not hear a driver honking, suffers from poor vision or was not wearing prescription eyeglasses at the time of the accident, his or her credibility could be questioned.

How Our Lawyers May Be Able to Help

If you have been involved in an accident due to negligence, we recommend speaking with one of our licensed lawyers at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices. We are ready to determine whether anyone who may have witnessed what happened is credible in order to build a strong case for compensation.

Learn more about your possible legal options by scheduling a free initial consultation. We charge nothing up front if we represent you and no fees unless we help you recover compensation.

Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call 410-907-3957.