- The credibility of a witness testifying in court is always at issue.
- It is critical to present witnesses that are not biased during a claim or trial.
- Friends and family members are often attacked as being biased witnesses.
- The best witnesses are impartial parties that saw or assisted after an accident occurred.
When a motor vehicle accident happens in the busy Atlanta region, there’s a good chance other drivers, pedestrians, or passengers witnessed the collision. Witnesses can provide personal accounts of what happened before, during, and after the crash, which can help you win your case.
Here’s how to tell whether someone will make a good, credible witness.
The Importance of Unbiased Witnesses
Judges, lawyers, and insurance companies want to clearly understand the story behind why a car accident took place. However, drivers and even passengers involved in a crash may have biased angles, hidden truths, or conflicting facts from the other parties. Sometimes the stress of the collision can also cloud or confuse judgment about what really occurred.
If you were injured a motor vehicle accident, and you’re convinced it was another driver’s fault, an unbiased witness account of what happened could help make your case.
An accident witness can offer an impartial story about what took place. Their accounts can help fill in the holes in drivers’ stories and prove if anyone is omitting facts or lying.
A credible and reliable witness is usually considered someone who is unbiased and has no stake in the outcome of a case. This means the best witnesses would not be your mom, best friend, or brother riding in the car with you.
Instead, a credible witness may be someone who stopped to assist at the accident scene, a nearby pedestrian who saw the accident happen, or an uninvolved motorist who called 911 to report the crash.
What Makes a Witness Credible?
If you’re wondering if a witness will be considered credible, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Did the person see the entire accident from start to finish? If they only saw what happened after they heard the cars colliding, they could lose some credibility.
- What was the witness doing at the time? If they were distracted doing something else, their accounts might be less valuable.
- Can the witness remember important details about the accident? Do they recall which car was speeding, if the light went red, or if someone was cut off? Memory of the accident can fade, and not knowing the details can damage their credibility.
- Does the witness have a connection to any of the drivers? If they’re friends or related, it can lead to questions about bias.
- Was the witness involved in the accident? If so, they would be considered an accident victim, not a witness.
- Does the witness have a bad history? If the witness has a history of lying or memory loss or if they’ve been convicted of crimes, it can make a Court question their credibility.
Regardless of whether you believe a witness will be considered credible or not, you should always get their contact information. It can be determined later if their testimony can help your case.
Tips on Getting Credible Witnesses
Here are some things to consider when looking for a witness for your car accident case:
- Did anyone stop to see if everyone was okay? These individuals are often the most willing to give their information if they saw the accident.
- Get and check the police report. If the responding police officer spoke to any witnesses at the scene, the officer most likely recorded their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- Were there any businesses nearby that might have employees or customers who saw the accident? Perhaps an employee witnessed the accident or knows a customer who did.
- Contact the local 911 communications office. Many people call the police to report an accident. You may be able to obtain their names and telephone numbers from 911 under the Georgia Open Records Act.
- Is there anyone on social media talking about the accident? Occasionally, people will post about a crash they see online. Check geo-location tags for the area your accident took place to see if you can find any witnesses posting information or photos on social media.
Why a Witness Shouldn’t Have Bias Toward a Claim
When someone has a bias, it means they tend to favor one side over the other. For example, if you are a sports fan, then you will likely always have a bias and cheer for your team, even if they aren’t having a good season.
In a legal claim, the credibility and bias of a witness are always at issue and will be questioned by the opposing side. When people have a bias, it can also affect their perception of events and even their intentions when testifying.
It is critical to understand any potential biases for witnesses that may testify in a case. Your lawyers can work to minimize the effect during a trial if a potentially bias witness must testify.
Can a Family Member or Friend Be a Witness in a Car Accident Claim?
Anyone can be a witness if their testimony is relevant and related to the case at hand. However, a family member or friend may not be considered the best source for a witness account. This is because the opposing side will do all they can to discredit a relative’s or friend’s testimony by saying they are biased, or more likely to give you a favored view of the accident.
In a perfect world, witnesses should have no attachment to you or your case. But if you have someone close to you who will need to testify, then it is important to properly prepare them for what opposing attorneys will likely do to derail their testimony.
In car accident cases, the police that responded to the accident are often essential witnesses. During a police officer’s investigation, they will usually take pictures of the scene and any damage. They will also interview whoever is present or potentially involved to put together a police report.
Why Car Accident Passengers May Not Be Considered Credible
Car accident victims and passengers may not be viewed as credible because they usually have a financial stake in the legal claim. This may mean they are more likely to exaggerate their testimony during a claim or trial. It is important to prepare for pushback beforehand, so there aren’t any surprises on trial day.
The best witnesses in car accident cases are typically unattached individuals who have no reason to fabricate or exaggerate their testimony.
Our Law Firm Can Help
If you or a family member was injured in a car accident and seeking legal help, contact our Atlanta injury law firm or our South Atlanta car accident lawyers. We can help you identify potential credible witnesses that can help prove your case.