After a car accident, the number of damages that a victim can sustain may be considerable. In these situations, it is critical to take swift legal action to secure financial compensation and ensure that the full amount is obtained. Filing a successful claim that renders the highest amount of money is vital. To do so, a claim will require robust evidence. Witness statements and testimony provide one form of evidence that can help a victim with their claim.
The California car accident attorneys at Beckerman Anderson explain more about using witnesses to support a car accident injury claim below.
Having Credible Witnesses Can Make or Break Your Car Accident Claim
If there was anyone who saw your car accident or was near enough to the accident scene that they overheard some of the commotions, and they agree to provide testimony or a statement, then they would be considered a witness. What a witness can attest to can be critical with respect to helping you build the case that another party was negligent and caused your accident. Having a credible car accident witness can make a big impact on your claim and how much compensation you are able to secure from it.
On the other hand, if a witness is deemed to be questionable or what they have to say is inaccurate and inconsistent, their words can actually hurt one’s claim. The dubious nature of a witness that is not trustworthy can change the perceptions of a jury, a judge, or the insurance adjuster assigned to your case. In this scenario, even if what a witness has to say supports your side, their words may not be even considered by those who are judging all of the facts of your case.
How is Car Accident Eyewitness Credibility Established?
There are several factors that can build witness credibility. Some of these include:
- How close to the accident scene the witness was and how much detail they saw.
- If the witness only observed a portion of the accident happening or they saw the entire incident.
- If the witness was present before the accident happened and in a position to see wrongdoing by any party involved.
- When it can be shown that the witness was not distracted when the accident happened.
- Who the witness was and if they were involved in the accident, showing that they did not have a bias.
- That the witness had their full wits about them and was not inebriated at the time of the crash.
- A witness with a clean record and no criminal history who is generally honest overall.
- A witness that did not receive any type of bribe for their statements.
What Can Discredit a Car Accident Eyewitness?
Similar to what can make a witness credible, when other factors are established about the soundness of a witness, their testimony can be problematic. For example, if any of the following exist, then a witness may not be trusted:
- Witness changes their testimony and is not consistent with what they say they saw happen.
- A witness may have a relationship with a plaintiff or defendant where it would be reasonable to believe they have a bias.
- If it can be shown that a witness was given something of value to provide testimony advantageous or harmful for one side or the other.
- A witness that was not close enough to be able to fully provide accurate information on the details of what happened.
- A witness that has a criminal record and who engages in or has behaved in dubious behavior.
- When it can be shown that a witness was focused on other things around them where they could not have clearly seen the accident.
Can a Passenger Be a Witness in a California Car Accident?
The general definition of a witness might indicate that a vehicle passenger could be considered as such. This can mean that a passenger in a car involved in a crash and a passenger in another car that was not involved in a crash may both be used for their testimony. By contrast, in California, pedestrians who were involved in a car accident, as well as drivers who were involved in the crash, should not be used in a witness capacity.
If a passenger who was involved in a California car accident is used as a witness, it must be shown that they are being honest about their recollection of the events.
Types of Car Accident Witnesses
There are three different types of car accident witnesses that may exist in a crash situation.
- First-Party: Individuals that were a part of the automobile accident and who experienced it would be considered first-party witnesses as they have first-hand knowledge of what took place.
- Third-Party: Individuals that are not connected to any party in the case and were casual bystanders who were also uninvolved with the crash would be third-party witnesses.
- Expert: Individuals with demonstrated skills, expertise, knowledge, and experience, reviewing facts of a case and providing an educated evaluation of the events of a crash.
How a Car Accident Witness Statement Can Help?
When a credible witness with a reliable and sound account of the accident is established, they can provide greater input regarding the facts of how the crash occurred and where information may be missing. Not only may these witnesses detail a more complete story of how the crash took place, but they can provide greater clarification between sides.
The Importance of Collecting Car Accident Witness Statements
In most instances, seeking out any individuals who may have witnessed the events that led to a crash can be critical. Here, quick action is essential. Witnesses may or may not linger and stay around for very long, so connecting with them is essential, even if it is just to ask for their contact information and if they would be willing to provide a statement.
Contact Beckerman Anderson For a Free Consultation
After an automobile accident in California, please call the Costa Mesa car accident attorneys at Beckerman Anderson to schedule a free consultation at (949) 474-2254.