A good witness can make the difference between receiving the damages you are entitled to after a serious motor vehicle collision, or being held responsible for the other driver’s damages. However, locating witnesses can be challenging, especially after-the-fact. Here we have answered common questions that victims of car accidents often have when it comes to finding helpful witnesses.
When is the best time to find a witness?
Time is of the essence when locating a witness. Trying to track down witnesses days, weeks, or months after the collision may feel almost impossible. And even if you did find someone who saw the accident, there is a chance they won’t remember the details of what happened. Additionally, the more time that goes by, the less credible that witness will become, because time lapses can influence what the witness believes they saw.
So, you may be understandably shaken up after the accident, but the best time to find a witness is while you are still at the scene. This may not have been possible if you were ushered to the emergency room for serious injuries. What you can do is request a copy of the police report to see if the officer had spoken with any witnesses. If the accident occurred in an area where store workers or apartment residents may have seen it, you could always ask around in hopes of finding someone who can help your case.
What types of witnesses may be most useful?
Witnesses who may be biased to your side of the story may be friends and family that were riding as passengers when the crash occurred. Insurance companies know that loved ones will usually take the side of the person they know, and while their testimony can be helpful, finding someone who has no prior connection to you is even more influential. The types of witnesses that are often unbiased include:
- Pedestrians or bicyclists
- Drivers and their passengers in other cars who weren’t affected by the crash
- Emergency responders
- People within adjacent buildings
- Hotel doorman or security guards
Do keep in mind that despite a witness not having seen the collision itself, they may still have valuable information to provide you. For instance, a witness may have seen the other driver run through a stop light or speed, but didn’t see the accident that unfolded a couple seconds later. By this witness claiming that they saw the other driver committing a driving violation, it is more likely that the verdict will be ruled in your favor.
What information should I gather from potential witnesses?
The two most important details to get from witnesses are their first and last name, and form of contact. Getting a couple methods of contact is even better, such as an email and phone number, just as a backup. Witnesses are actually quite notorious for being challenging to track down after a car accident, so be sure to write down their:
- First and last name
- Home address
- Work address
- Telephone number
- Email address
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you could benefit from speaking with an automobile accident injury lawyer in Indianapolis about your claim. Contact a law office today.
Thanks to Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and finding witnesses to help with your car accident claim.