Witness Testimony in Car Accident Cases
Seeking the compensation to which you may be entitled after a car accident requires building a case that clearly demonstrates the fault and legal liability of the at-fault party. Insurance companies love to blame victims because in North Carolina, if a victim is just 1% at fault their claims are barred and they have no right to compensation. It is vital to always take steps to establish other drivers’ errors and fault, and to show that you did nothing to contribute to causing your own accident or injuries.
Accident victims may use various forms of evidence to support their claims of fault, including medical records, police reports, and photographs. Integrating witness testimony may add another layer to claims for relief, helping to prove legal fault and to defend you against any potential allegations by an insurance company seeking to minimize payments. At Nagle & Associates, Raleigh car accident lawyer Carl Nagle only represents victims of motor vehicle collisions. Since Mr. Nagle formerly worked as an insurance defense attorney and an insurance claims adjuster, he understands the importance of credible witness testimony in a car accident case. Mr. Nagle and the team at Nagle & Associates help victims throughout North Carolina, including in Winston-Salem, Asheville, Raleigh, and Wilmington. We are proud to have collected hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of clients across the state.
Using Witness Testimony in Car Accident Cases
Proving liability, or legal fault, is a critical step in a personal injury lawsuit following a car crash. In a way, relying on witness testimony helps reconstruct the accident by offering the observations of an unbiased and uninvolved party who observed the crash sequence from a safe perspective. Witnesses can note what they saw, what they heard, what statements were made by drivers after the crash, and they can also describe the speed and path of all vehicles and the condition of traffic lights and other signs and signals. Witnesses may also help provide an overview of events that corroborates the perspective of the victim. Gathering credible witness testimony is often the key foundation for a winning case.
As a third party who is not involved in the accident, the role of a witness and their credibility may affect the outcome of a car accident claim. Insurance companies representing defendants in a car accident lawsuit will often look to a third party to determine the accuracy of the driver’s version of events. A witness is considered a third party because they were not involved in the car accident and they are therefore considered disinterested in the legal dispute and therefore potentially more reliable. However, witness observations are often flawed or inaccurate.
For witness testimony to be truly helpful in court, it must be deemed credible. The credibility of a witness is determined by looking at certain factors, including their location and viewpoint at the time of the accident. It is important to present strong witness testimony and ensure that the witness is credible so that their testimony will be afforded weight. If a witness was driving at the time of the collision, they may have been concerned for their own safety. Other considerations that the judge may take into account include whether the witness viewed the accident from beginning to end or whether their attention was drawn to the accident solely by the sound of the impact.
In addition to being credible, a witness will be assessed for their character. Giving weight to witness testimony requires looking at their reputation and whether they have a reputation for truthfulness. Considerations include whether the witness is a convicted felon, has a reputation for dishonesty, or in some way has an interest in the outcome of the car accident claim. Witness credibility may also be determined by looking at whether the witness has poor eyesight or hearing or was distracted at the time that they observed the accident.
While witness testimony may be favorable, it may also present potential conflicts should there be contrasting versions of how the accident occurred. Corroborating your claim regarding legal fault is important, and in some situations, photographs and other evidence may help strengthen a claim. Speaking with all of the potential witnesses, whether they appear favorable or not, may help effectively present a strong claim.
Contact a Raleigh Lawyer Following a Serious Car Crash
To better understand how presenting strong witness testimony in a car accident case may help you recover damages, contact one of our seven offices. Raleigh attorney Carl Nagle only represents accident victims, and he makes it a priority to leave clients in a financially strong position. For this reason, Nagle & Associates charges a smaller legal fee than other personal injury law firms. Clients also do not pay us unless we recover compensation on their behalf. We help people in need of a motor vehicle collision attorney throughout North Carolina, including residents of Raleigh, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Greensboro, Charlotte, and Hickory, as well as other communities throughout Wake, Mecklenburg, Forsyth, Durham, Guilford, Cumberland, New Hanover, and Catawba Counties. To contact our office, call (800) 411-1583 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation.