Car accidents can be stressful and confusing if you don’t know what to do after being hit. They are even more stressful if you don’t have someone to tell you what to do or that what you are doing is wrong. Search for and contact a skilled ‘personal injury lawyer in my area’ to enjoy legal representation and guidance if you have been involved in an accident.
“Studies show that eyewitness recounts are accurate five months after incidences happen.”
When an accident occurs, chances are that there was someone that witnessed the accident. This person can be vital to your claim because he can add credibility to your story. Filing a personal injury claim can be tricky if you don’t have evidence and witnesses.
There are two types of witnesses that you will deal with after the accident – lay and expert witnesses. The former are individualsthat saw what happened before the accident and can attest to it. They might also be individuals that saw something during your treatment. Expert witnesses are the ones that have a professional opinion about the injury, such as doctors or researchers.
Types of Lay Witnesses in a Personal Injury Claim
You can use two types of lay witnesses in your personal injury claim. Those that saw what happened and are ready to testify about the accident, and those that know you personally and can discuss this. These two can add credibility to your story.
Some of the possible witnesses you need to talk to include:
- People in adjacent buildings
- Drivers and passengers of other vehicles
- Emergency response team
Don’t rule any witness out because the information they provide, however little, might be what you need to win the case.
The Importance of Lay Witness Statements
Unless there are surveillance cameras that captured the turn of events before the accident, you need to find a way to piece the facts of the accident together. Using witness statements can provide a lot of information to the insurer, judge, juries, and anyone else interested in the accident.
The perspective provided by someone else that wasn’t involved in the accident is usually regarded as unbiased information because, in essence, there is nothing for the witness to gain by lying.
A credible witness can be the difference between being compensated after an accident and being the guilty party.
Finding Witnesses after an Accident
Before you can even talk to them, you need to locate them first. Yes, you might have several people that saw what happened and are willing to testify but remember these are strangers with their own lives to lead, and if you don’t act fast, you might not locate them after the accident.
Locating a witness a few weeks or months after the accident can be a huge task. Even if you locate them, they might not be able to remember clearly what happened. Additionally, the longer you take to get the witness, the lower your credibility before the eyes of the judge.
Try and find the witness immediately after the accident. You should get their contacts before they leave the scene of the accident.
Talking to Witnesses
You don’t just approach a witness and start demanding their contacts – you need to know how to talk to them.
- Politely approach them and confirm if they witnessed the accident. If they affirm this, ask them to recount what happened.
- If the witness’ story doesn’t match with what you know, then their statement won’t add a lot of value to your case. On the other hand, if the witness recounts exactly what you believe happened, you need to get their cooperation.
- Ask the witness if he is willing to be a witness in the case. If he agrees, collect his contact information and request them to be patient till the police arrive at the scene.
The way you approach a witness can change the course of the claim. Don’t be rude or arrogant; they might have the key to your maximum compensation wishes.
How a Lawyer Helps in Handling Witnesses
A good lawyer helps you talk to witnesses after the accident. Witnesses will feel more comfortable talking to a professional than you. Make sure you find a lawyer by searching for a ‘Atlanta personal injury attorney in my area‘ andtalk to him regarding the witness statements and share the contacts of the various witnesses so that he can know how to manage them.