After an auto accident, it's not uncommon for there to be a lot of ‘he said, she said.’ In many cases, both drivers will blame the other. But having car accident witnesses can end up making a significant difference when it comes to the success of a claim.
Why Car Accident Witnesses (and Their Credibility) are Important
Having witnesses can support one driver's version of the events that led to the accident. A witness doesn't necessarily have to be someone who saw the point of impact. Even details of what occurred just before or after the accident can help.
Of course, credibility plays a major factor. If the witness provides one account while at the scene of the crash and another later on, this could raise a red flag. Also, if the witness is only surmising what took place as opposed to actually seeing or hearing the particular event, the witness may not be credible.
Inconsistency, exaggerations, difficulties recalling, and lying destroy witness credibility. So it's important to make sure you not only have witnesses but credible ones.
When You Should Talk with a Witness and Types of Questions to Ask
At the scene of the accident, it's best to gather contact information right away, this may include the person's:
- phone number (work, cell, home); and
Because of the chaos and stress that oftentimes occurs right after an accident, you may have a better chance of asking the right questions later on.
Decide the best setting for gathering information when that time comes. This could be over the phone or in person. Of course, if you've acquired legal counsel, the attorney can do the talking for you. But do this as soon as possible, while the details are still fresh in the person's mind.
The following are some examples of questions to ask a witness after an auto accident:
- What did you observe just before, during or after the crash?
- Where were you located in proximity to the accident?
- How far were you from the event that took place?
- Did you have a clear view?
- Can you describe the direction of the vehicles before the crash occurred?
- Did you observe a traffic violation (such as the driver speeding or running through a stop sign)?
- What were the weather/road conditions?
- What position were the vehicles in after the crash?
How an Attorney Can Help When Injured in an Auto Accident
Witnesses are many times invaluable to an auto accident case. But it's important to remember that it requires other types of evidence as well. A copy of the accident report and photographs are some examples. An attorney can help with assembling documents and information that establishes fault. Also, you will have someone looking out for your best interests when it comes to determining the types of compensation you're entitled to seek.
Secure legal counsel in Clarksburg at the Miley Legal Group. Call (304) 931-4088 or contact us online to set up a consultation.