If you have been injured in an auto accident, it is important to get statements from people who witnessed the incident. While you may be injured or confused about what to do immediately after the crash, that doesn’t mean that witness statements are not important. Actually, you will need these witnesses if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim. Those statements could mean the difference between you getting a large compensation amount of money and not receiving anything.
What’s a witness statement?
According to Groth & Associates, a reputable law firm, a witness statement is usually a short, written summary of events provided by someone who personally observed an auto accident. It’s crucial that your witness has first-hand information and isn’t relying on another person’s recollection. In case the witness’s statement is based on hearsay, that statement cannot be used during the trial.
Remember, a witness statement in your case must capture the following details;
- The location of the witness immediately before, during, and after the car accident
- Whether or not the witness had a clear view of the accident scene
- Where the witness was going at the time of the accident and where they were coming from.
Keep in mind that every detail is significant and could strengthen your claim. Therefore, when collecting witnesses’ statements, it is helpful to ask the right questions. Some of the important questions you may want to ask include;
- Where were you when you witnessed the accident?
- What were the general weather conditions?
- What was the exact color of the traffic light when the crash happened?
- Were the drivers wearing car seat belts?
- Did you hear tires screeching before the impact?
- Did you call the police (911)?
Your car accident lawyer, jury, and insurance adjusters will rely on these witness statements to establish what exactly happened and determine who was at fault for the accident. Besides, you should assume that the other driver will blame you for the crash. Once you embrace this fact, you will be able to appreciate the importance of witness statement from an independent witness that believes that you didn’t do anything wrong.
Pedestrians and other people passing by on foot are the first people who might have witnessed the car accident. Also, other drivers may be a good source of information especially if they had a clear view of exactly what happened during the collision. Sometimes, if the auto accident happened during the day, the chances are that it was observed by utility workers and probably road construction workers.
You can also get witnesses from the CAD report or the 911 audio. In case one of the people who witnessed the accident called 911, the operator must have recorded their name and contact details. Therefore, you can reach out to the witness even if they didn’t wait to be interviewed by a law enforcement officer. If you didn’t suffer severe injuries, you could get contact details of one of the people present at the accident scene.