If you are involved in a car accident you will certainly need to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Getting the contact information of witnesses may be easy but determining the witnesses’ credibility is hard.
By having neutral witnesses who stand to gain nothing from the case, provide close to accurate accounts of the events of the incident. The most important witnesses to the jury are the neutral witnesses. These are people who just happened to be in the vicinity of the accident scene. Therefore, juries tend to believe the testimony of witnesses who appeared to be neutral for as long as they are credible.
The Cambridge Dictionary states that credibility refers to, “the fact that someone can be believed or trusted”. Put simply, credibility is believability or trustworthiness. If a witness’ testimony and demeanor convinces you that they can be trusted then that witness is credible. In a personal injury claim process a witness’ credibility is often as important as their actual testimony. The reason is if a witness is simply not believable then the content of their testimony does not matter. In fact, where a witness fails the credibility test, the plaintiff or defendant can be found guilty by association.
There are a number of things that could impact a witness’ credibility, these include the witness:
- Testimony at trial is consistent with past testimony or statements
- Having actually saw or heard the events about which he or she testified
- Appearing to recall the events accurately
- Version of events seeming plausible
- Appearing to be lying
- Testimony being consistent or inconsistent with other testimony or evidence in the case
- Demeanor and attitude at trial, that is whether the witness was friendly or hostile
- Having any type of interest in the outcome of the case, financial or otherwise
- Having a prior criminal record