What makes someone a credible witness for a car accident claim is a mixture of factors. Credibility is subjective, and numerous factors could lead a jury to believe a witness or not.
Credibility might be subjective, but it is also vital for a witness. The strength of a witness’ testimony depends entirely on whether a jury takes them at their word or not. Once credibility is lost, the testimony of a witness is likely to fall on deaf ears.
Many Factors Impact the Credibility of a Witness
The Cook County Courts affirm that witnesses testify during the presentation of evidence at trial. The witness’ job is to tell the truth to the jury. There is no simple formula that makes a witness credible or not, though. Juries are made up of individuals, and two different sets of people might feel differently about the credibility of a specific witness.
Different factors could impact the credibility of a witness. Some factors could make a witness seem more credible in the eyes of a jury, while others might be less so.
Relationships with a Party Can Harm Credibility
Arguably the most important factor when it comes to witness credibility is independence. Juries give independent witnesses the benefit of the doubt because they were present for the accident and have no reason to lie.
This is different from witnesses that have a personal relationship with one of the parties involved in the crash. These relationships result in bias that can hurt the credibility of a witness.
Juries Care About the Background of a Witness
Juries will not treat every witness the same. Juries will often dismiss the testimony of an individual with a criminal record. This is especially true when the conviction is related to lying to the police or someone in a position of authority.
Lying Will Damage the Credibility of a Witness
The jury might give an independent witness the benefit of the doubt, but it does not take much to lose the jury’s trust. If the jury catches a witness in a lie or half-truth, that jury is much more likely to discount the witness’ testimony moving forward.
Jurors often focus on inconsistencies in a story. Even when it is unclear if a witness is being dishonest, juries often discount the testimony of a witness whose story is inconsistent or constantly changing.
The Location of a Witness Is Important
Witnesses do not always get a clear view of an accident. Some witnesses might be perfectly situated to watch a collision play out, but others might lack the vantage point needed to see every detail.
The vantage point of a witness is an important factor in car accident cases. Even if a witness seems credible on the surface, a poor vantage point could make for a poor witness. Juries will pay attention to the witness’ location at the time of the accident (and determine if the witness could have seen what they claim to have seen).
Juries Prefer Witnesses that Were Willing to Come Forward
The willingness to come forward and speak to the police about an accident is often seen as a sign of credibility. Witnesses that volunteer what they know right away have nothing to hide. It is not uncommon for juries to take a voluntary witness’ word regarding the cause of the collision.
The Credibility of Your Witness Is Important to Your Case
Witness testimony could have an enormous impact on a personal injury case’s outcome. In general, juries give credence to the testimony of independent witnesses for many reasons. However, a witness that gives the jury a reason to distrust them could quickly find the jury gives their testimony little (if any) credence. Witnesses have little reason to be untruthful.
If the jury determines a witness is not credible, their testimony will be given little weight, if any. This could render the strongest evidence in your favor a nonfactor in your personal injury lawsuit.
Thankfully, preparation could ensure that your witness testifies truthfully and understands what to expect. A Chicago car accident lawyer could help prepare a witness to testify by practicing their questioning beforehand.
Your Could Attorney Help You Identify the Best Witnesses for Your Accident Case
Many factors determine whether a witness is credible in a car accident case. While some witnesses are more believable than others, preparing a witness is important. Our team will protect your rights and inform you of all important details in your case.
Going into a deposition or trial unprepared could leave a witness flustered or confused. Our attorneys could work with a witness to ensure that they avoid any mistakes that might hurt your case. Call (312) 598-0982 for your free consultation if you are ready to learn how The Kryder Law Group, LLC could help.