The Importance of Witnesses After a Car Accident
When you file your car accident claim with an insurance company, one of the first questions you’re likely to hear is, “were there any witnesses to the accident aside from the drivers?” This is because in just about every accident case, each driver involved will have a different version of the way the events occurred. These discrepancies make it difficult for adjusters to offer a favorable payout, because it basically becomes the word of one driver against the other.
Having witnesses available to give an account of what happened adds a lot more strength to your case when you file your claim, especially when you are seeking to prove that the other driver was at fault in the accident. A witness could be a bystander on the sidewalk or in a nearby building, someone else who was driving on the road at the time of the accident or anyone else who saw the events as they unfolded.
However, it’s not enough to just have a witness — you need to be sure that that witness is credible as well. Events transpire very quickly in a car accident, so a witness’s testimony needs to be airtight for it to be deemed credible.
Some factors that could affect the credibility of a witness include:
- The distance from the accident where the witness was located
- Whether the witness actually observed the accident in its entirety
- Whether the witness was able to determine whether one vehicle was speeding
- Whether the witness was otherwise distracted at the time of the accident
- Whether the witness was relying on their own observations or on hearsay
Personal characteristics of the witness could also affect their credibility, including a criminal background, a reputation for dishonesty or a conflict of interest in the case.
If you have witnesses to your auto accident, be sure to get contact information before they leave the scene so that you can contact them later on. For more information on how to use witnesses for your benefit in a car accident injury claim, speak with a skilled lawyer at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith and Tartaglia, LLP.