Importance of Credibility in a Personal Injury Case

Why Credibility Matters in a Personal Injury Case

building blocks with the word "trust" spelled outThe credibility of the parties involved in an injury case is important for several reasons. When victims and witnesses who support their claim have good credibility, the case for compensation may be much stronger.

Our Sacramento auto accident lawyers are prepared to help you build a strong case for compensation and help you protect your credibility.

Below, we discuss why credibility matters and how the insurance company is likely to try to discredit your claims.

CREDIBLE VICTIMS MAY RECOVER MORE COMPENSATION

Injury victims who are trustworthy and credible are more likely to recover more compensation because a jury is more likely to sympathize and side with him or her over the insurance company. When victims and their cases have strong credibility, the likelihood of losing a case at trial incentivizes the insurance company to offer more compensation to settle the case.

An injury victim with less credibility may not be able to garner a favorable response from the jury, so the insurance company is likely to be more confident about taking the claim to court where they may be able to undermine the injury victim’s credibility even further. The insurance company may feel it is more likely to win the case or pay out a small settlement.

WHAT FACTORS INTO A VICTIM’S CREDIBILITY?

There are several things that factor into whether an injury victim may be seen as credible. Some of those factors include:

  • Personal background
  • Appearance and demeanor
  • Statements about the accident

If the victim has made consistent statements about the accident, and he or she does not have a reputation for exaggerating or lying, he or she may be seen as credible. However, if the victim has a poor driving record and/or a criminal history, his or her credibility may be called into question. If the victim has made inconsistent statements about the crash, and/or has financial problems, the insurance company may be suspicious of the victim’s motives in pursuing compensation.

HOW TO ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY IN YOUR CASE

Some ways you may be able to help establish your credibility early on in your case may include:

  • Seeking immediate medical attention after the crash
  • Being consistent in your statements regarding the accident
  • Keeping up with the necessary medical treatment(s) ordered by your doctor
  • Avoiding public activities that may contradict claims about the severity of your injuries

CREDIBLE WITNESSES MAY HELP STRENGTHEN YOUR CLAIM

While the credibility of an injury victim is important to an injury case, so is the credibility of the witnesses who are testifying on behalf of the victim.

A person who witnessed the accident may be able to provide an unbiased account of what he or she saw, which may help convince a jury of your version of the events. Additionally, expert witnesses, such as your treating doctor(s) or an accident reconstruction expert, may be able to help validate the nature of your injuries or prove who caused the accident.

However, if any of your witnesses are not viewed as honest or credible by the jury, their testimony may end up hurting your case more than helping it. For example, witnesses with an unprofessional demeanor who lie about things will not be seen as credible.

In fact, there is legal standing for a liable party to have a witness’ testimony thrown out. This is a legal term called “falsus in uno”, which gives a judge the authority to instruct a jury to disregard the testimony of any witness who has lied about any one thing, no matter how minor the detail.

WHAT MAKES A CREDIBLE WITNESS?

Aside from telling the truth, a witness’ credibility may be helped if he or she would not benefit from the outcome of the case.

For example, a credible eyewitness may be another driver who saw the accident and is testifying that he or she observed the at-fault driver speeding, driving while distracted or otherwise driving recklessly. As an unbiased third party, the jury would be more likely to believe the person’s testimony as he or she would not have anything to gain or lose from the outcome of the case.

Someone who shows up to a court hearing in shorts and flip-flops may not garner trust from a jury. So, a professional demeanor is also important to help establish credibility.

HOW CREDIBILITY MAY BE IMPACTED

Credibility may be impacted both negatively and positively depending on what information is revealed.

Since the personal backgrounds and demeanor of injury victims and witnesses alike are important in helping establish credibility, a blemish on your driving or criminal record may have a negative impact.

Other things that could hurt credibility include:

  • A reputation of dishonesty
  • Memory issues or confusion
  • Impairment at the time of the accident

However, things such as volunteer work or community involvement may have a positive impact.

HOW THE LIABLE PARTY MAY TRY TO ATTACK CREDIBILITY

The insurance company is going to make every effort to avoid paying your damages after an accident caused by their insured driver. They will do this by employing many tactics, including attacking the injury victim’s credibility and the credibility of any witnesses who are testifying on that person’s behalf.

Some of the most common ways insurers attack credibility include:

  • Digging through every detail of a person’s public record
  • Going through an injury victim’s financial history
  • Scrolling through a person’s social media posts
  • Raising questions over vested interest in the outcome of a case
  • Requesting full access to your entire medical history and combing through it

PROTECT YOUR COMPENSATION CLAIM. CALL US TODAY

Insurance companies will look for any reason to undermine the credibility of an injury victim’s claim. If they can successfully undermine your credibility, it becomes easier for them to fight your case in court, if it reaches that point.

Our attorneys have decades of experience building strong cases on behalf of our clients and have recovered millions in the process.

Give us the opportunity to help you. Ph: (916) 777-7777