Car accidents can be traumatic for everyone involved. This certainly includes drivers and passengers, but it also extends to bystanders who may witness the collision.
If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s crucial to keep these witnesses in mind. Their testimony may prove decisive in your efforts to claim damages, and to be fully compensated for any expenses incurred due to the accident.
Certainly, speaking with any witnesses should be one of the first steps you take following an accident. After assessing yourself and the other drivers/passengers for injury, make sure you document the scene of the accident with photos. In addition, speak to any witnesses present so that you can hear their side of the story.
One word of warning: Sometimes, the other driver may “charm” witnesses into taking their side, even when it’s the other driver who was ultimately at fault for the accident. As such, we recommend gathering witness testimony as promptly as possible, before there’s any chance for them to be swayed.
When to Talk to a Car Accident Witness
More specifically, we recommend talking to witnesses under the following conditions:
- You can do so safely. Talk to witnesses when you can do so without crossing lanes of traffic, or otherwise risking injury.
- You are not seriously injured. Remember that, in some cases, injuries may preclude you from talking to witnesses. Always put your own health and safety first!
- The witness has remained at the site of the accident. Do not leave the scene of the accident in pursuit of a witness, especially if you have yet to file a police report.
What to Ask the Car Accident Witness
Eyewitnesses can provide crucial information about the accident, including evidence that may really help you in your insurance claim or lawsuit. This is especially true when the witness is credible, meaning they do not have any relationship to you or the other driver; they observed the entire accident, from beginning to end; and they do not have any disability that could affect their testimony, such as limited eyesight or cognitive problems.
When you talk to a witness, make sure you gather:
- Their name
- Their contact information
- Information about what they saw (ask for permission to record their story on your phone)
You can always ask the witness to provide their story to the police officer who comes to write the report, which can be a helpful way of having their testimony entered into the official record. Also, ask for permission to contact them, should any follow-up questions arise.
Questions? Talk to a Car Accident Attorney
As you process your car accident experience, including any witness testimonies you gather, make sure you’re getting the necessary legal help. To speak to an experienced Texas car accident attorney, contact McLaurin Law Firm at your convenience.