Witnesses can be vital to the processing of court cases of all types, and they are as important in civil cases as they are in criminal cases. Some witnesses are considered experts in their field such as testimony from a master’s degree holder or a medical doctor. However, most witnesses are typically a general observer and someone who is knowledgeable of the incident in question. The problem with these witnesses is their level of credibility. Many cases are decided based on witness testimony, and outcomes can be dire or involve demands for an extensive amount of financial resources. Their credibility can often be called into question by injury lawyers in certain situations, both on the plaintiff and defense side. And there are certain attributes that these witnesses need in order to be believed by a jury or the court.
The first issue with a witness is whether or not they are telling the truth. This is typically brought out through the trial process when injury lawyers cross-examine or when they are brought to the stand by either party to testify. Judges and juries can then get a sense of whether they are telling the truth or not by questioning. In order for their testimony to be acceptable, witnesses must exude this element of trustworthiness by the manner in which they answer.
Conflict of Interest
Another issue for witness credibility is if they have anything to gain from a particular slant of testimony. They may have a prior relationship with either party, some of which may be good or not so good. They may also have a vested interest in the outcome of a trial, which is really where conflict of interest comes in. In auto accident cases, they may want to be the individual they testify for to receive a significant amount of money and embellish their answers accordingly. A truly credible witness will have no conflict of interest in any case in which they are utilized.
Once the issues of trustworthiness and elimination of conflict of interest are established, the next characteristic of a credible witness is honesty. The jury and the court must be convinced that the witness is indeed telling the truth in their testimony as material case evidence. Additionally, their statements must support documentation and other evidence presented in the case.
Personal Background Issues
There is also certain information that could exclude the witness from being credible. One of those is the existence of a questionable background such as a criminal record or involvement in any other similar case. This can especially apply in auto accident cases where a driver acts in a manner that causes an accident with a purported eyewitness being conveniently located in the area. This is a common auto accident scheme in some North Carolina cities, and the witness can be part of the plan to scam an insurance company by causing an accident on purpose that can be blamed on another driver.
Contact Our North Carolina Accident Law Firm
Anyone in North Carolina who has been involved in an accident where some of the primary material evidence is supplied by a questionable eyewitness should contact our personal injury law firm as soon as possible.