How Important is an Eyewitness to an Alabama Accident?

There are many actions you can take following a Florida or Alabama car or truck accident that can either protect your rights or take you further away from recovering the compensation you deserve. Our experienced Alabama accident attorneys always recommend that accident victims avoid speaking with insurance companies until they’ve consulted with an attorney. Despite appearances, these companies and their lawyers don’t have your best interests in mind.

One thing that you can do after an accident is to preserve evidence and get the personal details of as many eyewitnesses as possible. In some cases, eyewitness testimony makes the difference in establishing fault and awarding damages.

Your Accident Case and the Importance of Eyewitnesses

Even if you believe that fault in your accident clearly rests with the other party, the insurance company may not agree and might refuse to pay for your medical care and lost wages. One way to prove liability and get an insurance company to commence payment on your claim is by using eyewitness statements or testimony about how the accident occurred.

While you and your vehicle’s passengers can provide statements about what happened in the accident, this isn’t considered independent testimony. Any statements from a driver or passengers could be motivated by self-interests even if you are being completely truthful. This is why independent eyewitness testimony is so valuable.

What is an Independent Eyewitness?

An independent eyewitness is someone who saw the accident happen but wasn’t involved and isn’t related to either of the parties. Because the eyewitness doesn’t have any personal or financial stake in the outcome of an accident claim, they are generally considered to be the most reliable types of witnesses.

Independent eyewitnesses to an accident could come from a variety of areas such as being passengers in other vehicle, owners or customers of nearby businesses, nearby homeowners, or pedestrians on the street. If you are the victim of an accident and can speak with any of these witnesses before leaving the scene, you should do two things. Ask them for their full contact information and request that they briefly write down what they saw before they forget.

How Witness Credibility Affects an Accident Case

Even if you have a list of independent eyewitnesses to your accident, their testimony is only going to help your case if they are considered credible witnesses. In most cases, people who observe accidents are in the midst of their own activities which have their full attention. They may also have been driving a car and focused on avoiding your accident. Otherwise, a person might be mowing their lawn, looking at their phone while at a bus stop, or conducting business. Exactly what the person observed and some other factors could affect their witness credibility.

Some of the factors that could impact a witness’ credibility relate to their observations of the accident. These might include:

  • Whether the witness was fully engaged in avoiding the crash or they were safely removed from the area so they could observe the accident without fear of injury.
  • Did the witness have any distractions such as a frightened child or barking dog?
  • Did the witness see the accident from start to finish or was their attention drawn by the sound of a vehicle impact?
  • Is the witness giving their personal observations or are they incorporating information provided by other parties?

Other independent witness credibility factors relate to either the person’s character or physical condition. These might include:

  • Does the witness have a criminal history?
  • Does the witness have a dishonest reputation?
  • Are there sight or hearing problems that would affect eyewitness testimony?
  • Is it possible that the witness was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident?
  • Does the witness show signs of being easily confused or having a poor memory?

Eyewitness testimony is important for an accident case to prove fault and access damages. Your Alabama auto accident lawyer can also ensure that you are presenting the most reliable and credible witnesses for your case.

If you or a loved has been injured in an Alabama car accident, whether you have eyewitnesses or not, an experienced personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact the knowledgeable accident attorneys at Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb to discuss your case through a free consultation at (334) 677-1000.