How Credibility Impacts a Personal Injury Claim
There are many factors that can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury case. One of those key elements is the credibility of both the injured victim and any witnesses providing a statement. The insurance company will be looking for valid reasons to devalue or deny your claim. One of the ways they may do this is by casting doubt on the credibility of a witness or the injured victim.
Learn more about good credibility and why it can make such a difference to the outcome of your injury claim.
At PKSD, we are dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. This includes providing our clients with guidance on how to protect their credibility during the legal process. Our firm has a history of proven results, and we always fight for maximum compensation.
Your initial consultation is free, and if you choose to hire our firm, there are also no upfront costs to pay.
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What Exactly is Credibility in an Injury Claim?
Credibility is something you recognize in someone that you find both believable and trustworthy. We assess the credibility of others all the time. For instance, you may have a friend you trust with any of your secrets, but would you entrust personal things with someone who gossips? Probably not.
In an injury claim, credibility is critical, especially if you end up in court to argue your case. You want the judge and jury to believe your account of what happened. While not the only critical factor, if your credibility gets damaged, proving your case will be a lot harder.
Why Good Credibility Matters in an Injury Claim
If the jury finds you, the injured victim, to be believable, you are more likely to gain their empathy. This makes it much more likely that they will also find your statements about the accident believable. If they believe you and find in your favor, you could end up with the maximum compensation you need to cover the costs of your damages. If your credibility is damaged, it could mean less or even no compensation for your damages.
The same goes for the credibility of a witness. Say, for example, that the witness testifying on your behalf is later found to be a known liar. His or her testimony is then useless to your claim. In fact, it could actually do more harm than good.
What Kinds of Things May Damage Credibility in an Injury Claim?
Whether you are the injured victim or a witness, there are many things that could severely damage your credibility.
How Injured Victims May Damage Their Credibility
If you are the injured victim, the insurance company will look for ways to cast even the slightest doubt on your character and statements. One way this could happen is if you are not completely honest in your statements about what happened or the extent of your injuries.
Say, for example, that you have a prior conviction for speeding. Yet you tell the jury in your case that you have a history of being a safe driver. If the insurance company uncovers your old ticket, and they will, it makes you look like you lied. It is better to be completely up front about everything.
Even if it is something negative that you worry will hurt your case, it is better for your lawyer to know about it in advance so he or she can develop a strategy that limits any damage.
For instance, you should be honest with your attorney if you had:
- Any tickets for prior traffic violations, including how many
- A background that involved any criminal activity, even if it was years ago
- If you had any preexisting injuries or medical conditions
- Were you involved in any other accidents, falls or car crashes?
In addition to being honest, you should be concise in any statements you give about the accident. There are two reasons for this. One, the truth is always easier to remember, and you will be asked for your statement about the crash over and over again. Second, when talking to the insurance company, being honest does not mean rambling on with unnecessary details. For instance, saying you thought the other driver was going a certain speed. Leave those kinds of specifics up to the crash scene investigators. Simply give the facts and no more. You can refer the insurance company to your attorney for anything else.
A witness may also lose their credibility. Some common ways this happens is if your witness:
- Was a passenger in your car and therefore has a stake in the outcome of your case
- Has a reputation for being dishonest
- Has a criminal background
- Has poor eyesight and was not wearing his or her glasses
- Was not standing in an area where he or she could have seen the accident
- Has dementia or other medical conditions that may cause his or her statement to come into question
How Can You Protect Your Credibility?
To begin with, contact a lawyer as soon after your accident as possible. He or she is trained to provide guidance to injury victims that can help them avoid making critical mistakes, such as trying to cover up a preexisting injury.
Additionally, be sure to get the contact details of any witnesses who say they saw what happened. Your attorney can contact them later and assess them to see if they could be a credible witness for your case.
Finally, avoid engaging in or doing things that can harm your credibility. For instance, exaggerating about your injuries or leaving out that you had preexisting injuries.
Remember that your attorney is there to help. To gain the most benefit from their expertise, you should be completely straightforward about the accident, how it happened and what injuries you sustained.
Also, do not forget to seek immediate medical care. If you delay even for a few hours to a day, you are leaving room for the insurance company to argue that your injuries could have happened elsewhere.
Call PKSD to Speak to Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
Our personal injury lawyers in Milwaukee are experienced and ready to discuss your situation. We have been helping the injured throughout Wisconsin, as well as in Iowa and New Mexico, for decades.
We take your legal interests very seriously and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.
Learn more about your legal options and whether you may have a case. There is no cost or risk for this meeting, and we have staff available to take your call anytime, night or day.
Experienced. Local. Lawyers. On your side. 877-877-2228