Car accidents happen all the time. If you are in an accident, or worse, hit by a car, then your life can be altered forever. You might have health issues, you may have to miss work, and your finances can suffer. In many cases, you may be able to pursue legal avenues to get the compensation you deserve for your hardship caused by someone else’s negligence. You could seek damages from an insurance company, or from the individual or entity directly responsible. No matter what, you will need evidence to make your claim. That means not just your word against the word of someone else, but possibly the word of a witness as well. Most car accidents happen on busy streets, so there is a good chance that there is a witness to most accidents. A witness can help back up your version of events, and prevent an unscrupulous person from distorting or lying about the facts. Witnesses can be tricky, though. They do not have any personal stake in the matter, so there is no incentive to help. How can you approach one successfully, then?
How to Find Witnesses to Your Car Accident
It’s important to remember that the faster you move in tracking down witnesses, the better your results will be. Waiting days or weeks means that witnesses may have forgotten details and their credibility will be diminished. That said, your personal health and safety should be your number one priority after an accident. Seek medical attention before searching out witnesses, or find someone who can help to do it for you.
If there are passengers in the other vehicles involved in the accident, then it is quite simple to ask them for their version of events. However, there are many other possible witnesses that can get overlooked since they are not involved. Pedestrians who are waiting for a light often have a very good view of intersections. There may be onlookers sitting on balconies of nearby buildings, and emergency responders can also provide their analysis of the scene. A witness doesn’t have to have seen the actual collision. They may be able to provide pertinent information even if they only saw the aftermath or what happened before. This happens if someone may have noticed a vehicle failing to use a turn signal before the collision, or they may have noticed that one of the other drivers was acting inebriated after the fact. Some witnesses have also heard people making statements that implied they were at fault. Any one of these could be admissible in court.
Approaching a Witness
Again, do not start approaching witnesses if you need medical treatment. Be safe, and then take the steps of finding witnesses and talking to them. If you think that a witness might have time-sensitive information, then get someone to approach them for you. Just remember, it is very common for a witness to say one thing while on the scene, and then refuse to help later on. There are several reasons for this, but mostly it’s that testifying might be a hassle that they do not want to deal with.
When you approach a witness, be polite, and be clear about who you are and why you are speaking to them. Ask them if they’d be willing to answer some questions. When you are asking questions, be polite, and do not try to push them to give the answers that you want. After getting their version of events, ask them if they would be willing to be a witness. If they say yes, then make sure to get all of their contact information, including address, phone number, and email address as well. If you are on the scene, ask them if they can wait until the police arrive. Never try to trick a witness or be dishonest with them. It will only end up turning the witness away and hurting your cause. Remember, they do not just have to have seen the actual accident. They can also provide context from before or after the incident that can be very valuable.
Find an Advocate
Besides finding witnesses, the best thing you can do as soon as possible is to secure legal representation. A strong legal team can talk to witnesses for you, determine what information is relevant and helpful and obtain the evidence you need to make a strong case. The Powerhouse Attorneys can help you get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly much more. Call today in Las Vegas at (707) 747-6724 or Phoenix at (602) 691-5043.