In a car accident insurance claim or lawsuit, an injured party must have evidence and support of his injuries and property damage in order to prevail. Many times, the injured party must also prove that they were not at fault for causing the accident. Witness statements enable a party to provide this information to the court.
An injured party's compensation award can be reduced or completely eliminated if he was responsible for causing the accident. Witness recounts of the accident are a means by which a party can prove that he is innocent of any responsibility for the accident. Witnesses can detail the positions of the cars, the speed at which one or both automobiles were traveling and statements made by the parties immediately after the accident.
In contrast, witness statement can assist a party seeking to show that the injured party was fully or partially responsible for the accident. In most states, an injured party's compensation is reduced by the percentage of his responsibility for his accident. Therefore, defendants often try to show that the other driver is somewhat responsible for the accident and subsequent damages. Witness statements about the events of the accident can assist the court in determining whether the injured party might be at fault.
Witness statements can also assist an injured party in proving injury. Based on an eyewitness account of the accident, the court will be able to ascertain whether the claimed injures could have been caused by the accident. Additionally, the court may be able to determine whether the injuries and pain are as severe as they are claimed to be through witness statements about the injured party's actions and attitude following the accident.
Just as much as witness statement can help prove injury, they can also discredit claims of an injury. An eyewitness that viewed a driver that now claims to have been injured walking around after the accident or exclaiming that he was uninjured raise the possibility that the claimant is not being truthful. Witness statements are also helpful to show that injury is not as severe as claimed or that the injured driver somehow contributed to worsening his injury after the accident.
Anyone who has ever watched a Hollywood movie about the courtroom knows that not all witnesses are created equal. See our article on witness credibility to learn about how a witness's trustworthiness and demeanor can affect a legal case.
If you are involved in a car accident case – especially one involving injuries - consider seeking legal assistance with your claim. An attorney will identify potential witnesses and demonstrate how their statements can assist you in your defense or in obtaining compensation for your damages.