Experienced Washington State Car Accident Attorneys
You might not think much about the people surrounding you after a motor vehicle accident, but every single person there at the scene offers incredible value later – especially if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
One of the most vital things attorneys advise victims to do after an accident is getting the contact information of witnesses at the scene. Witnesses play a pivotal role in most injury claims – especially when video surveillance and accident recreation do not paint the picture for a judge or jury.
Here Is Why You Need Witness Statements After a Vancouver Car Accident
Before you discount the importance of witness statements, here’s why attorneys highly recommend gathering witness statements or at least their contact information so that you can get an official statement later.
Witness Statements Replace the Need for Video
Not every accident happens where video surveillance captures the moment. When there is no video to create the crash for jurors, it becomes harder to prove that one party was at fault for the accident. A witness’s statement, however, bridges that gap. Even with video, a witness can help corroborate what is in that video.
For example, the at-fault driver is accused of driving while talking on their cell phone. No cameras captured the driver on the phone, but the witness saw the motorist talking on their phone and back with cell phone records, that witness’s testimony is just as powerful as video with the driver on the phone.
Witnesses Provide an Objective Perspective Regarding the Incident
The drivers and passengers involved in the accident cannot be objective because they are personally tied to the outcome of the case. A witness, however, is not. They do not benefit either way from the accident claim’s outcome, and they can give an objective view on what they saw before, during, and after the incident.
An unbiased party’s statement is used by insurance companies and courts to decide what caused an accident. These comments are even more critical when there is conflicting information from each party or the evidence does not accurately depict what happened.
Witnesses Might Forget Months Later
It is vital that you get a witness’s statement as quickly as you can after the incident. While you could wait a few weeks, the witness’s recollection of the accident is likely to change or fade. Therefore, getting a statement or contact information at the scene is best. Then, after you have spoken to your attorney, you should supply them with that information so that they may contact the witness for an official statement.
A Witness Supports Claims of Guilt or Innocence
Witness statements can help victims show that the defendant was entirely at-fault or partially at fault for the accident. Likewise, a witness’s statement could help prove that the defendant was not altogether at-fault; therefore, they work for both sides equally.
Witness Statements Might Speed Up a Settlement Offer
Most personal injury lawsuits start with the discovery phase. During this period each side has a chance to interview witnesses during a deposition. If the witnesses’ statements prove that the defendant is at-fault, the defense attorneys may offer a settlement quickly to avoid taking the case further.
Witnesses Can Confirm Admissions of Guilt
A party admission is a powerful piece of evidence. Even if the defendant admits to you that they were talking on their phone, it is your word against theirs. If a witness also overhears that same statement, then it increases the likelihood the jury will believe your statement.
Witnesses Can Discredit Injuries
Sometimes, a witness statement does not work for you; instead, it works against you.
What Makes a Good Witness in a Personal Injury Case?
While witness statements are critical, you want reliable witnesses tied to your case. A witness that was at the scene randomly when the accident occurred is typically credible because they have no stake in the case. A passenger who is also a witness is not as valuable because they do have a stake in the outcome.
Some items your attorney might evaluate to decide if a witness is credible include:
- The consistency of their statements at various times during the accident investigation and claim.
- Whether the witness was actually able to see what happened in the accident, and if they were at the scene when the accident occurred – rather than showing up shortly afterwards.
- Whether the witness has any motives for misrepresenting the truth.
How to Secure a Witness Statement Following Your Accident
Immediately after an accident, if you can, find witnesses at the scene. Now is not the time for their entire statement. Instead, ask them if they saw what happened and if they are willing to provide an official statement.
If they are willing to provide their statement, then request their contact information. You can give the contact information to your attorney, who will then connect with them later for further interviews.
Hire a Trusted Washington Injury Attorney for Your Car Accident Case
After a severe automobile accident, you need an attorney who is ready to fight for your right to compensation. Insurance companies might seem like they are on your side, but, they are seeking every opportunity to reduce your compensation.
To ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve, you need an attorney to negotiate with insurance companies and attorneys.
Meet with the advocates at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC to explore your options for compensation. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today at 800-925-1875 or request more information online.