If you have been in a car accident, you might be entitled to receive damages from the at-fault party or parties. To do that, you will need to hire a skilled and professional attorney. This is because you, as a non-lawyer, might not be sufficiently knowledgeable about the law or various trial strategies, and you might fall victim to various pitfalls.
If you have been in a car accident, you need a lawyer who will fight as hard as possible to get justice for you. “The Strong Arm,” John Foy, is just that. When you need a skilled and professional attorney on your side, contact John Foy and Associates for a free consultation and case review.
Can a Friend or Relative Be a Witness to a Car Accident?
The simple answer is yes. A lot of non-lawyers will assume that because a witness has close ties to someone, they must be too biased to testify. This is not true at all.
In fact, if your friend or relative was the only other eyewitness to a car accident besides you and the defendant, according to the law of evidence, they are the best witness to testify. This is because for a witness to testify, they only need to be competent as a witness. To be competent as a witness, only two things need to be true.
- First, the witness must have personal knowledge of the case. If the witness saw the accident happen, they have sufficient personal knowledge to testify.
- Second, the witness needs to swear an oath or give an affirmation that their testimony will be truthful.
After the witness meets these two requirements, they are competent to testify, regardless of their relation to you, and you can call them as a witness in your case.
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One question that you might ask is whether your friend’s or relative’s testimony bias will be problematic in any way. In fact, there is no legal bar to them testifying. However, the jury alone gets to determine how credible a witness is and whether they will believe their testimony is true.
The defendant’s lawyer will likely take full advantage of this by asking the witness several questions about their relation or friendship to you to have the witness tell the jury that they are close to you. This process is called impeachment.
Impeachment is the process that a lawyer will use on cross-examination, which is what their “turn” to ask questions is called, to ask questions of a witness with the hope that their answers will make them look less credible. One common way of doing this is by asking a witness about their criminal record. In this case, however, the other lawyer will likely ask your friend or relative about their relationship with you.
While the jury might think it is a little convenient that your friend or relative is testifying on your behalf, your lawyer will rehabilitate your friend or relative’s credibility by explaining to the jury that it is very normal that the only witnesses to car accidents are the passengers and these passengers are often family or friends.
While juries are lay people, jurors are not stupid. Jurors are aware that while your friend or family member might have some motivation to lie, that does not mean that they will lie. If your friend or family member gives credible testimony, the jury will more than likely believe them.
The Importance of Evidence
Another thing that you need to be aware of is that your witness, even though they are a friend or family member, creates evidence of the facts of your accident. This is very important because there must be some evidence of your case before trial, or else the judge will not allow your case to go to trial and will grant judgment to the defendant.
However, if there is any evidence at all of your side of the story, the court must allow the case to go to trial, where you have a good chance of winning because juries side with plaintiffs the vast majority of the time. Your friend or family member’s testimony is evidence because if the jury believes it, they can award you damages.
This is yet another reason why having as many witnesses as possible is the best possible thing for your case. The more evidence that you can show the jury, the more likely they are to award you damages.
How Your Lawyer Can Help
The most important trait that any witness you call to the stand can have is credibility. Whether a witness is related to you, your best friend, or a total stranger comes second to how much the jury trusts them, and that will depend mostly on how well they testify. Having a good lawyer is crucial in determining that your witnesses testify well.
Your lawyer will ensure that your witnesses will are as credible as possible for the jury by employing tactics such as:
- Preparing you and your witnesses to make sure that you give the best answers possible
- Helping you and your witnesses word your answers in a way that sounds credible
- Helping you and your witnesses prepare to answer questions in a calm way
- Helping you and your witnesses prepare to answer the other lawyer’s questions
- Asking you and your witnesses questions in court to elicit the best answers possible
Having a highly skilled attorney is the best way to give yourself the best chance possible to win your case.
Contact John Foy & Associates Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you deserve to seek compensation for your injuries. To ensure that you have the best chance possible, you need the assistance of a highly skilled and professional attorney. “The Strong Arm” John Foy is just that.
Contact John Foy & Associates today for a free consultation and case review.