Immediately after getting into a car accident, you might be feeling confused, disoriented and concerned about the safety of those involved in the accident. The last thing on your mind would be to gather statements or contact information from people who have witnessed the accident. Getting witness statements or their contact information can be one of the most important things you do immediately after the fact.
It might seem insensitive, and you might be too injured or stressed to even think about doing such a thing, but you should at least try getting the contact information of those who witnessed the accident. In this manner, you can get their witness statements at a later date.
What Is a Witness Statement?
A witness statement is a written or recorded summary of a vehicular accident that is usually provided by a third party who had seen the entire accident occur. Witnesses can typically offer details that the drivers involved cannot. With a witness statement, you must get information regarding where the witness was at the time of the accident, where he or she was coming from or going to and how clear of a view the witness had of the accident.
Why Is a Witness Statement So Important?
When trying to get compensation for a car accident (whether the compensation is for a personal injury or damage done to your vehicle), all parties involved in the accident will likely present their version of the accident in which they are innocent. This is when a witness statement can provide the objectivity needed to streamline the case and clarify the details. A witness statement is essential because of these six characteristics:
It Can Help in Establishing Who Is at Fault
If the witness had a clear, undeterred view of the accident, he or she can likely objectively identify which of the involved drivers was at fault. The drivers involved will not have a reliable account as they will try pinning the accident on one another.
It Can Support Your Version of the Accident
If you know that you are not at fault when it comes to the accident, finding a witness to support your version of the story will put you at a significant advantage when fighting your case. The witness will likely provide the objectivity needed to get your side of the case verified.
It Can Help Fill Gaps in the Information
Since you and the other driver involved in the accident were in your cars during the accident and have something to gain from the verdict of the accident case, you may not have all of the details of the story. A witness is likely to have seen everything that happened, and they will be able to fill in the gaps in the information that you and the other involved parties have given.
It Can be Used in Trial
If a witness statement fulfills all of the relevant criteria, it can be used as supportive evidence or a deciding factor if the car accident case goes to the court. Your Billings car accident lawyer will be able to help you present the witness statement in a trial.
It Can Help with Your Settlement
Similarly, the witness statement can significantly help in making a final settlement in the case. It can help determine who the negligent party was and who should be compensated for the accident.
Neutral Parties Add Credibility
As mentioned above, the witness is a neutral and objective third party. They have nothing to gain from the case, and their objectivity will add to your claim’s credibility, especially if the witness statement is in favor of the information you have provided.
Witnesses may be challenging to approach after a car accident, but with the proper guidelines, you will be able to find a way to get the information you need.