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Witness Credibility and Necessity in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit


A woman on the phone with emergency services while helping an elderly woman who has fallen.

Slips and falls happen with regularity in Florida and throughout the United States. The National Floor Safety Institute states that over two million falls annually are due in whole or in part to floors and flooring materials. Not only do these events happen, but they can also cause serious injuries like concussions and broken bones.

Where the store or homeowner is clearly at fault for making the floor unsafe for you, the store will usually be willing to settle any claim you have for a reasonable amount.

However, if the store does not offer a reasonable amount of compensation or denies any liability, your ability to secure compensation will depend on your ability to prove your premises liability case. You and your slip and fall lawyer will need credible witnesses to prove the elements of that case.

Witnesses Remain Crucial to Slip and Fall Cases

Despite technological advances and experts who can reconstruct motor vehicle accidents, witnesses still play a critical role in civil and criminal cases. The accounts and testimony of witnesses who saw your accident are especially important in slip and fall cases.

In these types of personal injury accidents, the accident scene can quickly be cleaned up before you can document what caused your injury.

Additionally, there are likely to be several employees or store managers talking to you and around you. Witnesses can often hear statements store employees made that are helpful to you but that you did not hear.

What Makes a Credible Witness in a Slip and Fall Case?

While you need witnesses to help prove a slip and fall claim, not every witness is equally helpful to your cause. Your slip and fall lawyer will seek credible witnesses to testify on your behalf at trial. A credible witness is one whom the judge or jury believe and trust and whose account of events they are likely to accept.

Not every witness is a credible witness, and even among credible witnesses, some are more believable than others. When deciding how much to trust a witness, judges and juries are likely to consider the following:

Who the Witness Is

If the witness is a well-known member of the community, the opinion the judge or jury has of this individual will factor into their overall credibility determination. Even if the witness is not well-known, who they are will play a role in how believable they come across to a judge or jury.

For instance, teachers, mothers, and religious leaders may all be considered credible witnesses at trial. However, lawyers or businesspeople with a reputation for deceitful tactics will obviously not be viewed as favorably or believed as readily. Finally, older witnesses are generally viewed as more credible than young witnesses.

The Witness’s Ability to Observe Your Accident

This refers to where the witness was standing or sitting at the time of your accident and their physical ability to perceive what happened to you. If the witness was standing in a place that made it difficult for them to see your accident, their recollection may not carry much weight with the court.

Similarly, a witness far away from the accident may not be as believable as a witness just a few feet away from you when you slipped and fell. Or, a witness who needs glasses to see and who was not wearing them at the time of your accident will not be viewed as being as credible as a witness with perfect vision.

Witness Bias

Finally, a judge or jury will take into account any incentive that a witness may have to testify in favor of one party or the other. The best witnesses are other shoppers who have no connection with you and who stand to gain nothing from testifying about your accident.
Conversely, relatives shopping with you may be viewed with some distrust by the judge or jury.

In the same way, store employees may be viewed as being biased in favor of their employer. In both of these cases, a court may be less willing to accept their version of events.

How a Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help Your Case

When you need to prove a store owner or other proprietor did not do enough to protect you from a slip and fall, retain the assistance of an experienced slip and fall lawyer from Schrier Law Group. Not only can we locate witnesses whose testimony can support your claim, but we will identify those who are most credible and most likely to be believed.

Speak to us at Schrier Law Group about your slip and fall case today.