The Importance of Witness Statements After an Auto Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
In many accidents, it’s your word against the other driver regarding who was at fault. This is not an ideal way of presenting your case or having any certainty of a successful outcome.
At-fault driver’s insurance companies will always try to cast doubt on your version of events. To present your case with the greatest chance of winning, you will need overwhelming independent witness testimony. Securing this type of evidence can be difficult and time-consuming. It is also crucial the witnesses are asked the right questions to obtain relevant information.
To achieve this, you will need the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. The car accident lawyers at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. have the skills to collect the statements from witnesses to support your case.
Why Are Witness Statements Important?
The court will naturally place greater weight on the evidence of someone not involved in the crash, making the input of impartial witnesses vital. The court will be able to trust these witnesses because they are free of bias.
It is crucial to collect as much of this evidence as possible to convince the court that your version of events is correct, and judgment should be awarded to you.
Who Can Act as Witnesses?
There are several groups of individuals that can be witnesses in car accident cases. They can be individual citizens, first responders, or professional expert witnesses with no personal interest in the case’s outcome. An individual present at the crash can give relevant evidence about what happened before and during the accident. They can even provide information about what was said and done after the accident.
If someone is injured in a car accident, there is a legal obligation to inform the police under Michigan Vehicle Code 257.622. The police will then attend the scene and prepare an accident report.
The police report is an essential piece of evidence but has some drawbacks in terms of providing evidence:
- The police will arrive after the accident occurs.
- The vehicles will have been moved from the crash position.
- Witnesses present at the time of the accident may have left the scene.
- They will have to make a judgment based on what you and the other driver tell them.
Notwithstanding these potential flaws, a police report will be taken seriously by the court when determining liability. Other possible evidence to support witness statements include:
- If an ambulance attends, the paramedics can give evidence of the party’s injuries, and any words said at the time, such as an admission of fault.
- Video recordings from dash cameras or street-mounted CCTV cameras can also be used as evidence. The court finds this evidence typically, if available, very useful and in some cases conclusive as to fault.
- You may need medical evidence relating to the severity of your injuries and what treatment you will require in the future. Without this crucial evidence, the court cannot determine the compensation you deserve accurately.
How Do I Get Witness Statements?
There are case witnesses you must approach as soon as possible after the accident. These are independent bystanders and medical professionals.
At the crash scene, you should approach independent witnesses and, at minimum, obtain their contact information. You cannot afford to let a witness with information that can prove your case slip away. If possible, try to get a written statement from them at the time of the crash. The incident will be fresh in their minds, and evidence taken at the accident scene will carry a lot of weight with the court and can help you get a quick and fair settlement.
You should also see your doctor at the earliest opportunity to have your injuries recorded and confirmed by a healthcare professional. The at-fault driver’s insurer may attempt to argue that your injuries are not a result of the accident. A statement from your physician to the contrary can make or break your case.
Talk to a Lawyer About the Importance of Witness Statements
If you have been involved in an accident in Michigan and need evidence to prove your claim, contact your local law firm, Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorneys will advise you regarding the evidence needed to prove your case and how to obtain a witness statement successfully.
Our auto accident lawyers have years of experience helping car accident victims, and they are prepared to help you fight to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.