Getting sufficient information in car accident witness statements is critical. Being able to locate witnesses later or use their testimony as evidence could make a significant difference in an injury case.
Information to Obtain in a Car Accident Witness Statement
When talking with witnesses after a car accident, obtain the following information:
- phone number;
- account of what happened (if the person saw the accident);
- observations made of the other driver (like signs of intoxication); and
- anything else of relevance.
At the very least, take down contact information. If the witness is willing to provide additional facts, be sure to take notes. Don’t try to rely on memory, as it can become fuzzy with time. A witness may still have to give a more formal statement later if their statement is to be used in the case.
Keep in mind that witnesses needn’t have seen the entirety of the car crash. Some may have only seen a portion of it. Even if the witness just on the scene right after it happened, consider their testimony of use. They could still provide valuable information that helps the case.
Questions to Ask a Car Accident Witness
The accident scene may not necessarily be the best time to gather a lot of information from a witness. There can be quite a bit of confusion and chaos, or you may need medical care. So it may not be until later on that victims can ask witnesses questions.
These questions could come from the insurance company, an attorney, or the injured person himself. Victims might consider hiring an attorney who can contact the witnesses about giving formal statements about the accident.
Questions put to witnesses could be things like:
- When did you arrive on the scene?
- Were you a driver or occupant in another vehicle?
- What happened immediately prior to the car crash?
It’s also important to ask if the witness had a clear view of what transpired. Was there anything partially blocking your vision? Circumstances can vary greatly, depending on the person’s location relative to the crash.
Questions pertaining to:
- estimated vehicle speeds;
- distances between vehicles;
- intersections locations; and
- traffic signals could also be very helpful.
If possible, ask the witness to provide a sketch or diagram. Finally, ask about any conditions that may have impacted the accident. The witness might point out that visibility was hindered because of fog or note that the road appeared to be slick.
Whatever information the car accident witness statements provide, they should come from the witness. Feeding into the person’s account or allowing speculations to be part of a witness statement can be damaging.
Legal Help for Denver Accident Victims
If you were injured in and around Denver, talk to D.J. Banovitz about evidence collection after the car accident, including witness statements. Call (303) 300-5060 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case in detail and get started today.