Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I might have said at the time of the accident?
- March 29, 2017
With the amount of stress that a car accident causes, you may not be thinking clearly immediately after the accident. In the days after the accident takes place, you may remember things that you didn’t mention or that contradict what you said at the scene. It’s also common for people to notice injuries in the days after an accident occurs, even if they didn’t notice them at the scene, as the adrenaline rush of the accident wears off.
It’s still possible to win your case even if your memory now contradicts what you said at the scene, although it can make things more difficult. The defense attorney will use this against you to try and reduce your credibility in the eyes of the judge and jury. It’s important to hire a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you, as an attorney will be familiar with these types of situations and know the best way to proceed.
Ideally, you want to prevent issues like this from occurring in the first place, and the best way to do that is by sticking to the facts at the scene of an accident. Only tell the police what you know for sure and don’t guess at anything. If you can’t quite remember a detail about the accident, tell the police that you don’t know. It’s better for your credibility to say you don’t know at the scene and add to your story later as more details come back to you, instead of saying one thing at the scene and then something else weeks later. The police are also going to ask you if you’ve been injured after a car accident takes place. Even if you don’t notice any injuries, your response should be that you don’t know, because this is the truth. You can’t be sure whether you’ve suffered an injury until a doctor checks you out. Until then, you could have an injury that isn’t presenting symptoms yet.
If your memory contradicts what you said at the scene, it could impact your credibility in the eyes of the judge and jury, although your attorney can argue that it’s normal for this to happen. It’s important to keep in mind that your testimony is only one part of the case, and it may not be the deciding factor in whether you win or lose. Other factors that determine the outcome include the physical evidence, witness statements and the police report.
Physical evidence, such as the damage to each vehicle, can be very important to your case. You should take pictures of the accident scene and any vehicles involved right away after an accident, as this may help your case later. Other physical evidence includes any video footage of the accident. If you have a dashcam, the video could be far more impactful on your case than your testimony.
Witness statements, provided the witnesses are neutral parties, can also factor in to your case. If there are any witnesses to the accident, make sure you get their contact information.
Judges and juries tend to trust police reports. The assessment of your accident in the police report is likely to be another important piece of evidence.
Your testimony is one of many factors that can play a part in deciding the outcome of your case. How important it is will depend on the circumstances of the accident and what other evidence is available. If there is ample physical evidence and statements from multiple neutral witnesses, it likely won’t matter much if your memory of the event has changed. If it’s unclear who was at fault for the accident and there is little evidence supporting either driver, then your memory of the accident is crucial, and anything that affects your credibility is a serious concern.
Regardless of the situation surrounding the accident and your recollection of what happened, you’ll have the best chance of winning your case with a personal injury attorney to represent you in court. Your attorney can put together a plan for presenting your case in the most effective manner.