It is common for two drivers in a car accident lawsuit to have a very different version of events. At this point, car accident settlement negotiations typically break down and you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault driver for your damages.
But how can you win a car accident lawsuit when the other party gives a different version of events, or contests your argument?
Winning a Car Accident Lawsuit
To prevail in your car accident lawsuit, you normally will need to rely on four major issues:
- Driver credibility
- Statements of witnesses not involved
- Physical evidence
- What the police report says
Below is more information about each of these factors that will determine if you win your auto accident lawsuit.
Credibility of the Drivers
The more credible you are, the more likely you are to be believed and win your car accident lawsuit. If the driver that struck you says you caused the accident, but they do not seem to be very credible, the jury may not buy their version of the story. What is it that makes a witness credible or not?
- Whether the testimony of the person at trial is the same as what he said in the past, such as during other court proceedings or at the accident scene. If the testimony differs substantially from what he said at the crash scene, this could be an issue that speaks to credibility.
- Whether the other driver has a criminal record
- Whether the version of what happened given by the other driver seems credible
- Whether the other person seems to be lying
- The attitude and demeanor of the other person
In a car accident lawsuit, the jury is more likely to believe that both parties are biased because each has a stake in the outcome. After all, you are suing the other person for compensation for injuries and property damage you suffered in the crash.
However, the words of a neutral witness carry more weight because they do not have any stake in what happens in the case. Because of this, they can be the most critical witnesses during the whole trial. Juries will often believe the testimony of witnesses of car accidents, if they have credibility.
That is why you should always attempt to get the names and contact information for all who may have seen the accident who were not involved.
It also is important to get the information for any witnesses to the behavior or the other driver before the accident happened. For example, if the other driver was seen acting in an intoxicated fashion just before the accident, this can be a strong factor in your favor.
Witness testimony often determines whether you win the case or not. If the other driver says it was your fault, but you have two neutral eye witnesses that say it was his fault, you will likely win.
Physical evidence is evidence in the real world and is not testimony. Car accident evidence that can help you win the case includes the cars involved in the crash and the scene itself. Physical evidence is usually shown with photographs. Pictures in the case of a car accident lawsuit can be worth a thousand words, and a lot of money.
If the physical evidence shows the crash was probably the other driver’s fault, what he says really does not matter. The jury is going to probably believe what the physical evidence shows. If the physical evidence supports your story, you will probably win. If it favors the other driver, your car accident attorney may encourage you to settle.
Take Pictures Right Away
A key part of winning a lawsuit is to get a lot of pictures immediately after the crash. If you have a cell phone with a camera, take plenty of pictures of the accident scene and vehicles, as well as any visible injuries you have. If you do not have a camera, have a friend take pictures as soon as possible.
As soon as possible after the accident, go to the doctor and have your injuries documented by a medical professional. Starting the paper trail on those injuries as soon as you can will be critical to winning your lawsuit later. You do not want the other attorney to argue that your injuries were caused by something else.
In most accidents with injuries and damages, the police will come to the scene and write a police report. Usually, the responding officer will offer his or her opinion about who caused the accident. Remember that the officer’s statements carry a lot of weight with the jury. They are neutral observers and are professional law enforcement. It is possible for the police officer’s testimony to go either way. If it shows the other person probably caused the accident, you are likely to win your car accident lawsuit.
The Importance of Hiring a Good Lawyer for Your Car Accident Lawsuit
While you can usually negotiate a car accident without a lawyer, if you end up in court hiring an attorney to help with the lawsuit will most likely be a necessity. Luckily, most car accident attorneys charge on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid until and unless you win your case, so you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for a car accident attorney.
The trouble with hiring an attorney for your car accident lawsuit is finding a good one. There are a lot of great car accident attorneys out there, but there are a lot of bad ones too.
Here is a blog post we wrote about The Importance of Hiring A Good Lawyer For a Car Accident, which dives into questions to ask, things to look for, and most importantly, things to avoid when selecting an attorney for your car accident case. To conclude, hiring a good attorney can be the difference between getting a fair payout and ending up with a lot of frustration and wasted time.