What if a Witness is Lying at a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, first seek out a car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts. Next, seek out witnesses. Witnesses are an important part of a personal injury case. In general, witnesses are called to help clarify contested issues in a case. In this way, witnesses can build help build the strength of your case. In fact, one witness’ testimony could make or break an entire case. But what happens if a witness is lying about a car accident?
To begin, it is important to understand what type of witness may be lying. There are two major categories of witnesses:
- Lay Witnesses
A lay witness is a person who provides testimony in case, but who is not considered an expert. A car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ highly regards will likely have a lot of experience with lay witnesses. Lay witnesses provide statements based on their perceptions and personal knowledge only, not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge. Lay witnesses don’t provide their opinions, just the facts of what they have perceived in relation to the case.
The most common lay witnesses in a personal injury case are:
- Witness To the accident: this can include a wide range of people, including, people who saw the accident occur, people involved in the accident, the police, medics who responded to the scene, ER doctors, etc.
- Before/After Witnesses: often including friends, family, and colleagues; these witnesses have had a personal relationship with the victim both before the accident occurred and after. These people can provide testimony on how the accident and subsequent injury has affected the victim physically and mentally. This sort of witness is especially crucial when asking for damages to compensate for pain and suffering.
- Expert Witnesses
In contrast to a lay witness, an expert witness is qualified as an expert in a field by way of skill, experience, training, or education. An experienced car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ provides will likely work with expert witnesses. Expert witnesses usually do not have any direct relation to the accident or victim, rather they are outside resources used to provide informed opinions on contested issues in the case. The Federal Rules of Evidence allow an expert witness if:
- the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
- the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
- the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
- the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
For example, if the defense is claiming that being rear-ended cannot result in a spinal injury, the plaintiff may call upon a doctor who is a spine specialist (even though the doctor never treated the victim) to provide his expert opinion on whether the rear-ending could have caused the injury.
The best witness is a credible witness, meaning they appear trustworthy. Any car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ can depend on might ask the following questions to determine the credibility of a lay witness:
- Was the witness driving a car, and therefore focusing on avoiding the accident?
- Was the witness a pedestrian on the sidewalk, and saw the accident happen?
- Is the witness relying on their own observations, or someone else’s?
- Is the witness a convicted felon? Do they have a reputation for lying?
- Does the witness have an interest in the outcome of the lawsuit? Are they a friend or family member of a party involved in the accident?
In determining the credibility of an expert witness, a car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on should know that it isn’t just about the expert’s knowledge, but also about how they come across to the jury.
What to do if a Witness is Lying
If you haven’t already, hire a lawyer. Your representation, or at the very least your insurance carrier, should contact the witness and request a recorded or written statement. This way the lying witness’ testimony is “locked in”. They will not be able to change it in the future, and any contrary statements they make will weaken their credibility.
A top car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ has to offer will then work hard to find evidence that proves the witness’ story false. For example, is there evidence to place the witness somewhere else other than the scene of the accident? Are there surveillance cameras that can place the witness at the scene (or somewhere else)?
In your involvement, do not let emotions overcome you. The more calm, composed, and factual you are, the easier it will be to see the fraud.
Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident in Phoenix, AZ, then you may need a car accident lawyer. At Kamper Estrada, LLP we offer free one-hour consultations with our experienced lawyers. Our knowledgeable staff can help determine if you are eligible to receive compensation for your injuries and work hard to prevent lying witnesses from hurting your case. If you’re in need of a car accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ has faith in, contact Kamper Estrada, LLP today for a free initial consultation.