4 Reasons Why You Should Gather Witness Statements After a Car Accident
When you are in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may have the legal right to pursue financial compensation for your losses. The compensation will usually come from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, there is more to Colorado car accident claims than notifying insurance companies. To obtain compensation for your accident-related losses, you must prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries. Obtaining witness testimony after a car accident may go a long way in proving negligence and establishing liability.
While you may have witness statements, you might now know what to do with them. When this happens, turn to the car accident attorneys at the Mintz Law Firm. We will review all witness testimonies and use them to help support your case.
Why Witness Statements Are Important to Car Accident Cases
While there are several ways you can demonstrate the other party caused the crash, witness statements are among the most powerful. Statements can prove your version of events, give your attorney negotiating power, and be helpful in court. Additionally, witnesses are independent parties who do not generally have a preference on the case’s outcome.
Witnesses who are not involved in the collision or connected to either driver are independent and unbiased. Unlike statements from drivers and their passengers, whose testimonies may be influenced by their own self-interest, independent witnesses do not have a personal or financial interest in the outcome. They will state what they saw without the influence of paying for damages or receiving financial compensation.
Confirm Your Versions of Events
While it may be clear who the at-fault party is, they will likely never admit to it. If there are no witnesses to the crash, it will likely turn into a “he said, she said” case, which will not help your situation. It may help prove liability if you have a witness confirming your version of events.
Your word alone is not enough to prove to insurers that you did not cause the crash. However, the insurance company may be more likely to negotiate a fair settlement amount if they know you have a credible witness. A detailed written statement from a witness adds a new level of credibility to your claim.
Use at Trial
While most personal injury cases settle outside of court, there is always the chance of your case going to trial. There are several reasons why a written or recorded witness statement can be helpful in court.
- Inconsistent statements: There is always a chance that the witness will change their story in court and testify against you. However, your attorney can use their prior written statement to show they changed their story. More importantly, your attorney can ask them questions on why they changed their statement.
- Recorded recollection: Some trials may begin years after the accident, so even the best witness might not remember what happened and what they initially said. In these instances, they can read aloud their prior testimonies.
- Admission of fault: Witnesses may have heard the other driver admit fault for the accident at the scene, which may be compelling testimony in your favor.
How to Obtain Witness Statements at Accident Scenes
The immediate aftermath of a car accident is crucial to gathering evidence in support of your case. Remember that witnesses have no legal responsibility to stay at an accident scene, so act quickly to speak with them if it is safe to do so.
Before police officers arrive, look for people at the accident scene who may have witnessed the collision and can provide a written statement. Witnesses can include people who stopped to help after the crash as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, or other drivers who were nearby. If you can, approach them and ask if they saw the crash. If they did, ask them to describe what they saw. You will also want to write down their name and contact information.
If you have a pen and paper, have them write down what they saw. Then, ask the witness to sign and date the paper so the other party cannot claim you wrote it after the crash. You may also record their statement. Ask for their permission to be recorded while the device is recording, and ask the witness to state their name, date, time, and location.
Contact the Mintz Law Firm Today
If you have been in a car accident, know that you are not alone. At the Mintz Law Firm, our car accident attorneys can support you through the legal process, from gathering evidence to dealing with insurance companies. We can also handle negotiations with insurers and prepare to take your case to trial, if necessary.
With over 150 years of combined experience, the attorneys at the Mintz Law Firm understand the ins and outs of Colorado personal injury law, and they will help you achieve the best results possible for your case. To schedule a free consultation, call (303) 462-2999 or complete our contact form.