Talking to Witnesses After an Accident
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be hectic. Obviously, your first priority if you are involved in a crash should be to check on the safety of yourself and any others involved, and safely move your vehicle out of the roadway.
After taking these steps to ensure safety, you should assess the situation and determine whether or not law enforcement must be involved. Learn more about when it is necessary to contact the police after a crash here.
Another very important action, though, is to speak with any witnesses to the accident that you can.
How to Approach Accident Witnesses
Sometimes, other drivers who witnessed the accident will pull over and make themselves available to help. If no one stops, look around for other people who may have seen the crash. It never hurts to ask bystanders or people inside of a nearby business if they witnessed the accident.
If you do have the chance to speak with a witness, take down their contact information. This will be extremely helpful in the handling of your case.
The Importance of Witness Statements
Unless there is video evidence of the accident that clearly reveals what happened, the facts of the crash must be pieced together. Witness statements can provide a great deal of clarity to attorneys, juries, or judges that are examining the evidence of the accident.
The perspective of another driver who was not involved in the accident can provide clarity as to what really happened. Without witnesses or concrete evidence, the case essentially comes down to one driver’s word versus the other’s. Sometimes this is just the reality of the situation, since in some accidents there simply isn’t anyone else around who could’ve seen it.
If there are witnesses, however, it is in your best interest to have their information available in case their testimony could serve to help your case.
Things to Keep in Mind When Speaking With Witnesses
There are a few important things to remember when you speak with someone who witnessed the accident.
- After politely identifying yourself, ask them if they saw the accident. If they did, ask them to explain what they saw happen.
- If what the witness claims to have seen doesn’t support your claim, then a statement from them will be of little value to your case, and could even be detrimental. If it does, though, then it will be extremely helpful to have their cooperation.
- After speaking with them and determining that what they saw supports what you believe happened, ask them directly if they are willing to be a witness. If the answer is yes, get their contact information and ask them to stay until the police arrive.
Taking these steps will likely have a huge impact on the outcome of your case.
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