After an accident, the most important thing you can do is get the name and contact information of any potential witness. Many people do manage to get this information from the witness. But they often neglect to follow up with the witness and get a statement. As a result, they are missing a vital piece of evidence that can help them prove their claim. One of the benefits of working with Essa, Janho & Associates is that we can handle this step for you. This way you can focus on your recovery.
A Witness is a Neutral Third Party
In other words, they are mere observers of the accident with no stake in the potential outcome of your case. Generally speaking, it doesn’t matter to them who is at fault for causing the accident. Of course, friends or family members of the victim who may have witnessed the accident want a favorable outcome for the person they care for. It’s important to note that this does not disqualify them from providing a compelling statement. It just means that there may be some additional challenges. An experienced attorney will be able to overcome any accusations that the witnesses to your accident are biased.
A Witness Can Establish Important Facts
Accidents are often catastrophic events that happen in the blink of an eye. The people involved in an accident are often unsure of what happened. Or have differing accounts of what happened. Neither party may be willing to accept responsibility for the accident. As a result, may be providing a biased version of the events. Or the people who were injured simply don’t know what happened or can’t remember.
A witness can help establish important facts that prove causation and liability. For example:
- They may have observed the color of the light in an intersection car accident
- They may have seen the exact location where you slipped and fell
- They witnessed a car turn left into an oncoming motorcycle
Whether the facts are unknown or in dispute, a reliable witness can shed a lot of light on what happened in your accident.
Who Can Provide a Witness Statement?
There are two types of witnesses that may be able to help your lawyer build a case. First, eyewitnesses who saw the crash and can help detail what happened. Second, expert witnesses who have extensive knowledge they can apply to a case to help strengthen your attorney’s argument.
Eyewitnesses can provide an objective, third-party account of what happened. This assumes they were not in either of the vehicles that crashed and have no relation to the victim or at-fault party. People who were in the vehicles involved may be biased toward the victim or at-fault party. That is not to say their testimony is unhelpful. However, objective testimony can be much more valuable.
Objective eyewitnesses who may be able to help build a case include:
- Other drivers not involved in the crash
- Pedestrians not involved in the crash
- Business owners, employees and customers in or around businesses in the area of the crash
Expert Witness Testimony
Some cases are quite complicated. It may be necessary to bring in an expert witness to help strengthen a claim. Expert witnesses are often medical professionals who help diagnose and treat injuries. They can explain how an injury was caused by an accident.
Other types of expert witnesses are people with expertise in physics, engineering and other sciences. They may be able to help you reconstruct the accident scene to show how it happened and why negligence may have been involved.
How Can a Witness Statement Impact a Case?
Both eyewitnesses and expert witness statements can impact an injury claim because they can be key pieces of evidence to help prove another party may be liable for the victim’s damages.
For example, an eyewitness may reveal the at-fault driver was texting and driving moments before the crash. This could help contradict an at-fault driver’s claims about mechanical failures, a medical emergency or other excuses. Similar statements from multiple witnesses could make your case significantly stronger.
If you are able, look for witnesses after the accident and ask for their contact information. That way you can contact them later to get more information about what they saw.