Significance of Witness’ Credibility

A credible witness can help members of the jury to form a comparison between two views of the injury-causing accident. The plaintiff has offered one view, and the defendant has introduced a decidedly different one.

All credible witnesses could be considered neutral.

That neutral party could be someone that had been driving a vehicle that was not involved in the collision. Personal injury lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie knows that alternately, that neutral party could be someone that had been walking or standing on the sidewalk, next to the roadway where the vehicles collided.

None of the passengers in any of the involved vehicles would possess the required characteristic of neutrality.

Questions that should be posed to any neutral witness

How much of the accident did you witness?

Was your mind focused on any distractions, as you viewed that particular incident?

—A driver is supposed to be focused on the road. Still it is possible that a supposedly neutral driver had been using the cell phone. The same driver’s performance of that action would rule out any considerations for labeling him/her as a credible witness.
—A pedestrian might have been walking a pet dog. If that were the case, then that same pedestrian would not belong on a listing of credible witnesses.

Other factors that could call into question the credibility of testimony from a given witness

The source of that testimony has come from someone with an interest in the outcome for the personal injury case.

The witness had poor eyesight, or had been standing at a spot quite far from the accident’s location.

The witness did not have a good sense of hearing. The loudness of a collision offers some indication of the drivers’ speed.

There could be questions about the witness’ ability to recall events clearly, or for a suitable length of time.

A witness’ expertise in a given field might not be paired with a good reputation.

—An expert mechanic might not work in a reputable auto shop.
—A medical professional might have been the target of one or more malpractice lawsuits.
—The acknowledged expertise might have come from participation in an illegal activity. Someone with the ability to identify a staged accident might have helped with the staging of one or more staged collisions.

Not all credible witnesses give what appears to be credible testimony to the jury.

If the jurors do not know much about a certain expert’s field, those same 12 men and women might view the expert’s testimony as a fictionalized or unimportant recitation of developments or proposed theories in that specific field. That possibility underscores the reason that some juries discount any testimony that is too technical in nature or too hard to understand.