The Importance of Witness Statements After a Car Accident
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on January 9, 2020 in Car Accidents News
When a car crash happens, there are often witnesses who saw it happen. Sometimes they saw things the two drivers may not be aware of that can help or hurt a driver’s claim for compensation.
If you were harmed in a car accident, the experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at Lynch Law Firm are available to discuss your options in a free, no-obligation consultation. If you have a case, we are prepared to thoroughly investigate the crash and talk to witnesses.
How a Witness Can Affect an Accident Claim
Witnesses can provide powerful evidence in a car accident claim because they provide an objective perspective on the accident. A witness statement may provide support for your claim, help discredit the other party’s version of events or highlight inconsistent statements from the at-fault driver.
To successfully recover compensation for your claim, you must be able to prove the other driver was negligent in some way, such as failing to obey traffic rules, speeding, driving distracted or running a stop sign. Witnesses may be able to explain how one of the drivers was negligent – maybe he or she saw the driver texting or running through a red light.
Because witnesses who are not associated with either driver are unbiased and have no vested interest in the outcome of the claim, their accounts can often make or break a case.
Insurance adjusters, judges and juries often weigh the credibility of witnesses. Credible witnesses are more likely to be believed and their statements may carry a lot of weight. Witnesses who are not credible may be ignored.
Several factors can impact a witness’ credibility, such as:
- The consistency of the witness’ statements at the time of the accident and the trial
- The witness’ vantage point at the time of the accident
- The plausibility of the witness’ testimony
- The witness’ character
- Whether the witness was caught lying about something
- The witness’ criminal record
- Whether the witness had an interest in the outcome of the case
If the witness is not credible or provides testimony that is not helpful to your case, your lawyer can cross-examine him or her to try to help bolster your claim.
Helpful Advice for Speaking with Witnesses
At the time of the accident, you will likely be focusing more on your health and safety than trying to document your claim. However, if you are able, look for witnesses and ask them what they saw. You can ask them for permission to record their statement on your smartphone. You should also ask for their name and contact information.
Some tips on talking to eyewitnesses include:
- Be polite
- Do not argue
- Do not blame the other driver
- Do not try to intimidate them
- Avoid using leading statements
- Be sure you give your lawyer a copy of the witness’ information and any statements they made.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
If you would like assistance in obtaining witness statements, the licensed attorneys at the Lynch Law Firm may be able to help.
At the Lynch Law Firm, we charge no upfront fees and provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal rights. We only get paid for our legal services if we help you recover compensation for your claim.
Contact us today to get started with a free case review. Call (800) 518-0508 for help with your claim today.