Home Legal The Role of Witnesses in Workers’ Compensation Claims

The Role of Witnesses in Workers’ Compensation Claims

The workers’ compensation scheme provides medical care and cash benefits to workers who have been injured or become ill as a result of their jobs. In exchange for this security net, workers agree to waive their right to sue their employer in a civil action.

When making a workers’ compensation claim, workers often rely on witness statements from various parties to support the validity of their claim. This evidence can be highly persuasive and can provide important information regarding the nature of the accident and the circumstances that led to it. In this article, we will take a closer look at the role of witnesses in workers’ compensation claims and discuss some factors that can influence the strength of their testimony.

Types of Witnesses

There can be many different types of witnesses who can corroborate a worker’s claim for compensation. These commonly include the following:

  • Eyewitness: An eyewitness is an individual who was present when the incident took place and can give a firsthand account of what they saw. For example, another co-worker can provide valuable information regarding the circumstances that caused the accident and the actions that took place following it. By providing their testimony, an eyewitness can verify the workers’ version of events, thereby strengthening their claim for compensation. 
  • Expert witness: This is an individual who has specialized knowledge or skills in a particular field such as a medical professional or safety expert. For example, the testimony of a doctor may be relied upon to substantiate the nature and extent of the claimant’s injuries as well as their probable cause. This can be beneficial in refuting any assertions by an insurer that the worker’s injury or illness predated their accident. 
  • Character witness: A character witness may be a supervisor or co-worker who can support a worker’s claim by vouching for their character, reputation, and work ethic. 

If you have been injured in an accident at work, a workers comp lawyer can help you identify any relevant witnesses who could help to bolster your claim.

Factors Influencing Witness Testimony

The outcome of a worker’s compensation claim may often turn on the testimony of a witness. The more reliable and credible the witness, the more support they can add to the worker’s claim. Below are some factors that can influence the strength of witness testimony:

  • Bias: Any potential bias on the part of a witness can affect their credibility as a witness. For instance, an employer who witnessed the accident may feel a conflict of interest between supporting the worker’s claim and having to pay out.
  • Inconsistency: A witness who provides inconsistent statements when cross-examined or over time, can undermine their credibility as a witness and weaken a worker’s claim.
    • Memory: The memory of a witness may be questioned, undermining their reliability as a witness. This may be an eyewitness who does not have a clear recollection of the event they witnessed.
  • Reputation: The reputation of the witness may influence their credibility as a witness. For example, the testimony of a co-worker who has a reputation for being dishonest is likely to be less persuasive than one who has a positive standing within the workplace.

While witnesses can support a worker’s claim, factors that could influence their testimony should also be carefully considered.


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