In the aftermath of a car crash, victims may find it difficult to piece the incident together. Photos and videos may be insufficient to prove who is at fault. So, another pair of eyes at the scene before, during or after the collision can help fill the missing information gaps and capture the complete picture.
Third-party witnesses can be pedestrians, cyclists, drivers or passengers in other cars, and people in nearby houses and businesses who saw the tragic event unfold. For instance, they can validate which party acted responsibly after the accident or which did not.
However, as much as they can provide neutral observations, insurance adjusters often find ways to discredit their credibility to reduce payouts for injuries and other damages. So, victims must exercise vigilance by asking the right questions to establish their witnesses’ credibility.
Building witness credibility
Third-party witnesses must not have a stake in a victim’s claim to make their statements a reliable piece of evidence. However, just because they say it does not necessarily mean they cannot have human flaws. The believability of their testimonies can also depend on the following factors:
- Perspective: Did they have a clear, unobstructed view? Were they distracted at any point? Were they physically and mentally fit at the time of the accident?
- Character: Do they have a criminal record? Are they truly not connected to any of the involved parties? Did they accept a bribe in exchange for their witness statement?
- Coherence: Do they have a consistently sound account of what they witnessed? Can they recall crucial details? Do their testimonials corroborate the victim’s story?
Witnesses who cannot properly articulate what they saw due to age, health condition or indecisive demeanor can harm instead of help the case. Victims must carefully assess how to use their statements, as these can significantly impact the outcome of their claims.
Preventing disparaging attacks
Insurance adjusters tend to fiercely cast doubt on the witnesses’ integrity to limit liability and avoid substantial costs for their companies. Victims can fight back with their California legal counsel, who can thoroughly investigate and prepare the witnesses on how to respond confidently. Doing so can strengthen witness credibility and their chances to receive fair compensation.