Florida medical malpractice and personal injury lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD, discusses how credibility makes or breaks a Florida personal injury case
The longer I do this work and the more people I assist who have been injured by medical malpractice or by accident, the more I realize that all cases come down to the credibility of injured party or plaintiff. In my view, nothing else really matters. Insurance companies and juries will give money to injury victims that have a credible story. On the other hand, insurance companies and juries will not give money to folks they believes are not credible or are trying to pull a fast one.
Definition of Credibility
Webster's defines credibility as the “quality of inspiring belief” or “capacity for belief.” That's right. Credibility has to do with the ability to believe the injured person's story from beginning to end. Let's take a look at what Florida's jury instructions say about credibility or believability.
Let me speak briefly about witnesses. In evaluating the believability of any witness and the weight you will give the testimony of any witness, you may properly consider the demeanor of the witness while testifying; the frankness or lack of frankness of the witness; the intelligence of the witness; any interest the witness may have in the outcome of the case; the means and opportunity the witness had to know the facts about which the witness testified; the ability of the witness to remember the matters about which the witness testified; and the reasonableness of the testimony of the witness, considered in the light of all the evidence in the case and in the light of your own experience and common sense.
Credibility and the Personal Injury Case
I like to analogize a personal injury case to a block of ice. The insurance company and the defense attorneys keep chipping away at the injured party's credibility until it undermines their believability. They do it because it works. They have many tools at their disposal:
- Inconsistencies in the injured person's medical records
- Inconsistencies in the injured person's testimony
- Client attempting to hide or minimize prior accidents, injuries or medical treatment
- Client attempting to oversell their case or their injuries
The more an insurance company or an insurance company's attorney can develop these inconsistencies, the more it will assist their defense and hurt the injured person's case. On the other hand, if the injured person is truthful, consistent and owns some of the weaknesses in their own case, they will be credible in the eyes of the insurance company or jury and will receive fair and just compensation for their injuries.
If you have any questions about a Florida medical malpractice or personal injury case, call Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD at (352) 267-9168 .