Why Credibility is So Important in an Accident Case
The credibility of a person involved in an accident case can have a great impact on whether the injured victim recovers compensation. The insurance company knows how important credibility is in an accident case. This is why they try very hard to discredit you as an accident victim, as well as any witnesses who testify on your behalf.
If you were injured due to the negligence of another driver, call our New Jersey auto accident lawyers today to discuss your claim. We may be able to offer legal advice to help protect your credibility and the value of your claim.
The initial consultation is free and confidential. There are also no fees while we work on your case.
Credible Accident Victims May Recover More Compensation
An accident victim who is believable is more likely to recover full compensation for their damages for several reasons.
First, when an accident victim contacts a law firm for help, an attorney will assess whether the injured victim is being straightforward about what happened. Injured victims can be best helped when they neither exaggerate nor downplay their injuries.
Complete honesty is critical to the outcome of any injury case. Additionally, if a lawyer believes you have a valid case and you choose to hire him or her, you stand to benefit from his or her experience. Statistically, your chances of recovering maximum compensation are significantly increased over victims who try to recover damages on their own. It is also helpful to have someone who knows and understands your rights and who is also prepared to fight for them on your behalf.
Another reason why a credible victim may recover more compensation is that, if the case goes to trial, a jury is more likely to have empathy for a victim who seems believable.
When you are a credible victim, your treating doctor and other witnesses may also be more inclined to testify on your behalf. A person is not likely to want to help your case if he or she does not believe the things you are saying, especially when being questioned under oath.
What Makes an Accident Victim Credible?
Credible accident victims are generally consistent in their actions and statements. This means you are not making contradictory statements about the accident or acting in a way that may aggravate your injuries.
For example, telling the police officer responding to the scene of the accident that you were making a left turn, but then telling the insurance company you were making a right turn when the accident occurred.
Some examples of consistency in your actions may include:
- Getting to a doctor right away – helps establish you suffered an injury in the accident
- Following your doctor’s orders – helps establish that you do not want to worsen your injuries
- Continuing medical treatment – helps establish that you are serious about getting better
Your background may also help establish you as a credible victim. For example, if you have a good driving record. It is harder for the insurance company to say you were driving recklessly if you do not have a history of traffic tickets or car accidents.
What Might Hurt Your Credibility?
Just as consistency may strengthen your credibility, inconsistency may hurt it. Accident victims who constantly contradict themselves could hurt their chances of recovering compensation. A jury is less likely to believe a person who is inconsistent about important details.
Exaggerating an injury could also hurt your credibility. Doctors who treat accident victims are generally familiar with how much pain certain injuries may cause. Although pain tolerance may vary by individual, there is a general consensus on what types of injuries cause elevated levels of pain. If your doctor thinks you are exaggerating your injuries, he or she may be less inclined to testify on your behalf.
Credible Witness Testimony May Help Your Case
Witnesses are another important part of an accident claim. This includes experts and eyewitnesses. If the person testifying on your behalf is not credible, the jury may end up siding with the insurance company.
What Makes a Witness Credible?
Like an accident victim, a credible witness is also consistent. Depending on the type of witness, there are some additional actions that may help establish credibility.
For example, a witness who is called in as an expert but lacks the criteria to speak on the subject may not come across as credible. One scenario where this could occur is an accident reconstructionist who is called in to determine what caused an accident, yet he or she does not have extensive knowledge of physics. It is important to note that police officers are sometimes called in as experts to determine the cause of an accident. Even without a higher level of knowledge about the science of accident reconstruction, they may have extensive experience handling traffic accidents. Therefore, their lack of scientific knowledge does not automatically discredit them as an expert.
Credible eyewitnesses are generally third parties who had a clear view of what occurred at the scene of the accident. For example, bystanders, other drivers or passengers.
How Will the Insurance Company Try to Discredit Witnesses?
The insurance company will try to discredit all parties involved in a case against them. This includes discrediting expert witnesses and eyewitnesses.
In addition to questioning an expert’s qualifications, some actions the insurance company may take to discredit a witness include:
- Revealing a criminal background
- Attacking the person’s reputation
- Questioning the person’s sobriety
- Digging through medical records to reveal a memory condition
The insurance company may also argue that a passenger in your vehicle is not a credible witness, even if his or her testimony is valuable to the case. They will argue that the passenger may be biased because he or she knows you.
Let Us Help Protect the Value of Your Claim. Call Today
If the insurance company is trying to discredit you or any witnesses willing to offer a statement that would help your claim, call us today. Our knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to help protect the value of your claim.
We offer a free legal consultation. There are also no upfront fees for our services. We do not get paid unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
No upfront fees. No risks. Call (800) 518-0508 today.