Both the plaintiff and the defendant are biased witnesses. A good witness should function as a neutral party. A good witness should have no stake in the results of a trial or a negotiation process.
Is the witness’ testimony believable?
The members of a jury will ask that question. If the testimony does not seem believable, then the jury tends to put less trust in the witness’ statements. Jurors have a second way of reacting to unbelievable testimony. The members of the jury question the credibility of the testifying witness. If that same witness speaks for the plaintiff or the defendant, the party that has become linked to the witness could become a victim of guilt by association.
Factors that can convince a jury of veracity on the part of a witness
• Providing consistent answers
• Proof that testifying witness was present at the scene of the accident
• Witness’ recall appears accurate
• Version of events, as stated in testimony, seems plausible
• Witness is friendly, not hostile
• No evidence of witness’ desire for a particular outcome from the trial.
• Delivered testimony agreed with the presented evidence
Factors that could sway a juror away from believing in the veracity of a witness’ testimony
One or more of the statements in the testimony strikes the same juror as an obvious fabrication or the witness had a prior criminal record, as per the Personal Injury Lawyer in Barrie.
Another factor that might influence the jurors’ thinking
Sometimes experts offer testimony on a given subject. Jurors seldom question an expert’s veracity, but a juror might fail to gain a full understanding of the subject matter that was the focus of an expert’s presentation.
If jurors fail to understand a given subject, then the same subject gets overlooked, when it comes time to evaluate the evidence and reach a verdict. This factor has gained wider notice from members of the legal community, as juries need to hear presentations on very complex subjects.
Sometimes, a personal injury case requires the presentation of such complex material. For instance, that might be the situation in a medical malpractice case. By the same token, this added factor might come into focus in a trial about a sudden or unexplained death. At such a time, the jurors might learn about a complicated test, such as a DNA test. Their ability to understand an expert’s testimony could affect their verdict. That fact has encouraged the formation of new law practices.
Such practices seek a repeat hearing for someone that received a verdict from a jury that had lacked a full understanding of a specific test. Typically, that was a test that could be used to verify or refute a witness’ testimony. The lawyers in those new practices have overturned some court decisions.