Establishing the Credibility of an Auto Accident Witness

Posted on: 14 May 2020

Having a credible witness can strengthen your auto accident claim. Below are some of the things that determine a witness's credibility.


The first step is to establish whether the witness observed the accident in the first place. You can do this by establishing these factors:

  • Distance –The witness was close enough to the accident to see the events unfold.
  • WeatherThe weather was clear, and the witness could actually see the accident.
  • Geography – The geography of the area means there was nothing blocking the witness' view of the accident scene. Something like a hill can block someone's view of an accident even if the accident location is close enough.
  • Distraction – The witness was not distracted at the time of the crash. A crying baby, phone call, or even food can distract someone and make them less observant of their surroundings.
  • Health – The witness doesn't have a health condition, such as vision impairment, that could have affected their view of the crash.

Expect the defendant to raise every imaginable possibility to discredit your witness's observation of the accident. The defendant might even argue that the sun's glare affected your witness' view of the accident. The onus is on you to counter these allegations.


Once you have established that your witness actually saw the accident, you also need to prove that they are not motivated to make a biased testimony. The defendant can accuse your witness of bias if you have a personal relationship with the witness, the witness works for you, or if the witness was also a victim of the accident. The best way to prove that your witness is not biased is to show that they don't have any interest in the outcome of your case.


You also need to prove that your witness's testimony is consistent. If your witness is not consistent, then one version of their testimony is a lie. If a witness lies about one thing, then how can the court believe their other testimonies? You might want to talk to your personal injury lawyer about these and other details. A good witness should have the same version of events. They should not tell the insurance adjuster one thing and tell the court a different thing.


Lastly, the witness's character will also come into question. Some of the things that can mar your witness's character include a criminal record and a history of dishonesty. The defendant can even introduce a character witness to discredit your witness. The onus is on you to disapprove of the defendant's claims and prove that your witness's character is irreproachable or that their character hasn't affected their testimony.