After a car crash, you may suffer from debilitating injuries and medical expenses. To navigate this crisis, you must get the at-fault party to pay for the damage they caused. With the help of an attorney and witnesses, you can prove how you sustained your car accident injury in court and get the help you need.
Car crashes often have witnesses because there are generally other drivers and pedestrians. After making sure that everyone is safe, you should get people to make witness statements about what happened. A police officer will create a diagram of the accident, but this diagram will not show who is actually at fault. You can only prove who caused the accident by getting a witness to report what they saw.
Why Car Accident Injury Witnesses Are Important
Witnesses are a key source of evidence for your case. Unlike the drivers involved, witnesses are generally an objective source of information. Additionally, witnesses can help you prove your case if you have to go to court. Witnesses can help in the following ways.
Get Impartial Information
After an accident, police officers will interview the drivers involved in the wreck. Often, these drivers will have competing points of view. Since police officers were not at the scene of the accident, they could not easily determine which driver was telling the truth.
When witnesses are involved, officers can ask the witnesses about what happened. Because the witnesses do not know the drivers, they are an impartial source of information. Sometimes, an entire case can hinge on witness testimony.
Discover the Truth
Because everyone has a different perspective, it is normal for one driver’s story to be different from the other driver’s perspective. The stories can be significantly different in some cases because one driver is not telling the truth. They may have been drunk or talking on a phone during the accident. Whatever the case, the other driver may lie about some of the circumstances so that they do not have to pay for the accident.
Witnesses are useful because they can show who is telling the truth. For instance, a witness may remember that one driver swerved before the accident or could not stand up straight when they got out of the vehicle. By providing this extra information, witnesses can help law enforcement officials figure out what happened.
Prove Your Case in Court
Hopefully, the car insurance company will accept your claim and immediately send you a check. Unfortunately, many insurers do not want to pay for a car accident injury. They will try to fight the claim to save money.
If you do not have much evidence supporting your claim, it is easier for insurance companies to fight it. Fortunately, many accidents involve witnesses. Through witness testimony, you can prove your case in court.
Show the Extent of Your Injuries
While most people think about eyewitnesses when they talk about accident witnesses, you may also need expert witnesses. For example, you may need a doctor to testify about your injuries. This is especially true if you have a back injury, mental disorder, or another difficult injury for people to see.
Expert witnesses can also discuss the nature of the accident. They can use track marks, the location of the damage on each vehicle, and other factors to analyze the accident. Through their testimony, they can essentially reconstruct what happened.
How to Get Car Accident Injury Witnesses to Help
After a car accident injury, you should immediately seek medical treatment. Even if you were not injured in the accident, it is important to get medical care. Spinal injuries, whiplash, and similar problems can develop in the future, so you should get them documented and treated as soon as possible.
Once you have called the police and received medical treatment, you should talk to anyone who saw the accident. You can ask witnesses to remain at the scene until a police officer arrives. If they cannot or will not wait, you can get their contact information. Police officers will most likely collect this information when they reach the scene, but you should also try to get witnesses to cooperate. Later on, you or your lawyer can always reach out to each witness to get a statement.
The Types of Witnesses
When there is an accident, two types of witnesses can provide statements. Eyewitnesses are people who saw the crash as it happened. Expert witnesses are people who support your case by reconstructing the crash or talking about your car accident injury.
Eyewitnesses are people who saw the accident happen. The best eyewitnesses do not know the drivers or anyone involved in the accident. Because they are not connected to anyone from the accident scene, they can offer an objective point of view. You can still use your passengers as witnesses, but objective observers are the most valuable source of witness testimony in court.
Many different kinds of people can serve as witnesses after a car accident. Sometimes, the witnesses are other motorists or pedestrians who were not involved in the crash. Property owners, customers, and other people can also strengthen your case and provide witness testimony.
Expert witnesses are useful if your case goes to trial. For example, medical experts and mental health care providers can discuss the physical and mental repercussions of the accident. Meanwhile, accident reconstruction experts, engineers, and highway safety experts can help you reconstruct what happened at the scene of the crash.
Witness Credibility Matters
Having witnesses is great, but the quality of your witnesses is also important. If the witness is not credible, the judge will not believe their testimony. Sometimes, witnesses are not credible because they are untrustworthy. In other cases, the credibility issue is not the individual’s fault. For instance, they may have been distracted by a crying toddler. They could also suffer from bad vision that impeded their view of the accident.
Even if the witnesses are not ideal, it is still important to gather witness reports. Your accident attorney will need to interview witnesses to understand the accident. They can determine how credible each witness is. Sometimes, credibility issues can be overcome if many different witnesses agree about the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Factors That Affect Witness Credibility
If you are suffering from a car accident injury, an insurance settlement can help you cover the cost of medical treatment. Unfortunately, the amount of your settlement can be impacted by the credibility and reliability of your witnesses. Several different factors can impact witness credibility.
- Was the witness convicted of a felony?
- Is the witness related to one of the drivers or passengers?
- Was the witness able to observe the vehicles involved long enough before the accident to see who was responsible?
- Does the witness seem easily confused?
- Is the witness using their observations or the observations of a friend?
- Was the witness so focused on driving the car and avoiding a wreck that they could not see the crash?
- Is the witness known for being dishonest?
- Does the witness have bad eyesight? Were they wearing their glasses or contacts?
- Was the witness too far away to see the accident easily?
- Does the witness suffer from a bad memory?
- Was the witness drunk when the accident happened?
- Was the witness able to see the entire accident from the beginning to the end?
- Were there any distractions preventing the witness from observing the accident? For instance, were they distracted by a crying baby?
Credibility is the first thing your lawyer will look for when interviewing witnesses. This is just one of the many potential problems with witness testimony. Each person has a unique perspective so that they may remember the accident differently. While one witness recalled that the red car was speeding, a different person may remember that the black car swerved before the wreck.
In some cases, multiple points of view may be true simultaneously. Even though the stories may be different, they may be entirely real. People have different opinions about what happened. Because of this, lawyers are especially cautious when interviewing witnesses and determining which witness statements to use in the courtroom. Normally, your attorney will consider the following factors as they interview witnesses.
- Health: If the witness suffers from health problems, it could impact their credibility. Poor eyesight is one of the most common problems because the witness must be able to see the crash to report what happened.
- Connection: In general, the best witnesses are not involved in the accident. If the witness is a friend of the driver or a passenger, the insurance company may consider this relationship a conflict of interest. While they still want to get testimony from everyone involved, the best witnesses are strangers.
- Observational quality: Normally, people do not know an accident will happen in advance. Because of this, many witnesses will only see a portion of the accident. If the witness did not see any of the events that happened before the accident, they would not be able to testify about whether the driver was speeding or distracted.
- Consistency: In an accident case, witnesses will often be interviewed multiple times. If their story changes, it can lead to problems. Their reliability may also be questioned if they cannot recall certain details from the crash.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to choose who witnesses your car accident. Sometimes, you have to work with weak eyewitnesses because they are the only option available. When this happens, expert witnesses may be able to help you reconstruct the accident through scientific techniques and evidence.
How Can a Witness Statement Impact Your Case?
Witness statements can impact your case in a variety of different ways. Eyewitnesses are important because they can discuss what happened during the accident. As long as they do not know the people involved, eyewitnesses are considered reliable sources of testimony. They can help the legal system figure out which driver is responsible for the accident. Meanwhile, expert witnesses can help reconstruct the accident and review the extent of your physical injuries.
Learning How to Deal With Car Accident Injury Damages
If you have experienced a car accident injury, you need the right legal support. After a major injury, you may be unable to work. Other than financial losses from missed work, you may have to cover the costs of medical bills and rehabilitation.
An accident settlement can help you get financial compensation, but you may struggle to get a settlement on your own. If you are physically and mentally harmed by accident, it cannot be easy to compile a legal case. Through the help of a skilled attorney, you can get help interviewing witnesses and filing your case. Eventually, your legal settlement may be able to help you cover the following costs.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of companionship.
- Emotional suffering and distress.
- Current and future medical expenses.
- Pain and suffering.
- Rehabilitation expenses.
No one has to deal with the pain of a car accident alone. A talented attorney can review your case. With the right help, you can determine if a settlement is possible in your case.