Witnesses can be a tremendous asset to you after you’ve been in a car accident. It’s safe to say that you probably didn’t see a whole lot while the accident was occurring. Many people even experience a kind of “black out” when they don’t remember a thing about the accident. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you have contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident occur. Still, you want to be sure you’re taking the proper steps to protect your health and your case too. To ensure the best outcome, follow these guidelines.
Step One: Take care of your health first – Accidents can result in all kinds of injuries. You might be physically unable to move because of a severe head trauma or broken bones. When you’re in a car accident, your health should be your first priority. Make sure you worry about that before you worry about injuries.
Step Two: If you’re able, talk with witnesses – If your accident only resulted in a few bumps and bruises, and you’re able to get around, take advantage of that time before the police come to gather any pertinent information you can from potential witnesses. Ask them what they saw and get their names and contact information. Getting this information might be able to help you with your case later on.
Step Three: Ask if you can use your cell phone camera – It might be easier for you and your witnesses if you use your cell phone camera to videotape their testimonies. Of course, not everyone likes being on camera, or they may have other reasons for not wanting to be taped. You will want to ask first so you don’t offend anyone or cause them to leave the scene of the accident.
Remember: Your emotions will be running pretty high at this stage, and it’s really easy to do or say something you shouldn’t. Try to stay calm and don’t ask any leading questions like, “Did you see what that jerk did?” or “He ran that red light, didn’t he?” You don’t want to put false images into the minds of your witnesses, you just want to get an unbiased point of view about what happened. That’s the kind of testimony that will help you in your case and that could increase your compensation.
Also, if there are witnesses standing by, but they are unable to stay and talk to the police, ask them to write down their names, addresses and phone numbers. They might be willing to talk with someone (either you or your attorney) at a later date about what happened.
Witness testimonies are excellent pieces of evidence, and when you have them, they add tremendous support to your case. Even so, it’s never a good idea to take on your own car accident case. Talking with an attorney, whether you have witnesses or not, is the best way to ensure your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.