Unraveling an auto accident scenario can be a difficult task when the case goes to court. Many incidents contain evidence that is still not clear with respect to fault and liability, and even the official report from the jurisdictional law enforcement agency can leave some questions. Those questions are usually answered by witnesses who may have been standing by at the time or even ones who were in a vehicle that was involved in the mishap. Details matter significantly in determining what actually transpired in an accident, and witnesses are often the most important sources of true accuracy. However, they can be problematic as well when defending insurance companies are looking for any technicality they can find to support denying an accident injury claim.
The Eye-Witness Account
There is little substitute for positive affirmation of a legal claim beyond believable eye-witness testimony. This element alone can make or break a case in some situations. Of course, there can also be counter-claims from competing witnesses as well when a defending party is attempting to deny liability. Arriving at the truth is not always easy in an accident, but it is still important to have as many eye-witnesses as possible who will help if needed in any case deliberation.
Not all witnesses actually observe an accident. Many times a witness will be an individual who heard the collision just to turn and see what transpired in the aftermath. This brings the question of the material or immaterial nature of the testimony. Anyone who provides secondary information could have that evidence dismissed from consideration when it is deemed immaterial to the case. The goal in an accident evaluation is fault and liability based on accurate information, including personal accounts of what was actually witnessed. Hearsay evidence does not apply as material.
Credibility is Important
Witnesses must also have a high degree of credibility in any deposition proceeding. There are certain factors that can decrease credibility for some witnesses, with the most important being a conflict of interest. When a witness has a stake in a particular case outcome, any testimony that helps establish liability and satisfy that particular personal stake can be problematic. This is the type of situation that arises in accidents that are purposely caused as a scam that leaves a third party liable for damages. It is a sad situation, but it does happen more often than many drivers realize. The potential for this situation is also why North Carolina uses the contributory negligence law when adjudicating accidents, but it often works against those who are generally innocent but only very slightly contribute to accident causation.
Involved Party Statements
Statements from involved parties in an accident should be done with a cautious approach. While this cautious demeanor can apply to passengers as well as drivers, the most important element to remember is that drivers should never under any circumstances admit fault for causing an accident in North Carolina. Let the investigating officers do their job in evaluating the scene, and do not embellish answers beyond directly responding in accordance with the question. North Carolina car accident lawyers also advise that it is never a good decision to interact with an opposing driver following an auto accident. Tempers can flare quickly and easily, and any statements made during an altercation can get entered into the evidence even vicariously.
Always remember to take photos when possible following an accident because pictures can be difficult to discharge when becoming part of the record. They can also be used in support of personal testimony. Always treat an accident scenario as a crime scene, and remember fault is the real guilt issue when determining who is liable to pay other injured parties.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers
Just as in criminal questioning, accident victims can refuse to make statements to police officers without consulting with an attorney first. This can be vital for many drivers in an accident. Instead, call our law firm and let us put our car accident lawyers to work for your best interests in the case. Even the slightest amount of fault can result in a driver being denied injury compensation, and in many cases, they will also become liable to other parties that are established by witness testimony.
When you retain Kellum Law Firm, we do the talking for you – “We’re With You All The Way”.
For additional support material relating to car accident claims in North Carolina, please review the following articles:
- Rear-end Car Accidents – Is Fault Even Contestable?
- How To Find The Best Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
- Uninsured At The Time Of A Car Accident Involving A Third Party – What Are My Options?
- Top Five North Carolina Traffic Laws Drivers Ignore
- Car Accident Injury Claims and Pre-Existing Conditions