If you are struggling to cope with the fall-out from a car accident in which you were the victim, any eye-witness evidence that supports your version of the events may tip the balance when you file a personal injury claim.
Eye witness accounts can be very useful, but you do have to take the opportunity to obtain them when it is possible to do so. Whatever you obtain as evidence should be given to your chosen personal injury attorney who can help you to gain the compensation you need to get on with your life.
Tip#1: Ask Eye Witnesses for Statements on the Spot
If you, or someone else, have been injured in a car accident, your first priority should be to attend to the injured. If it is possible to do so, though, you should try and get statements from any eye witnesses if there are any.
There are two ways of doing this, you could use a voice recorder on your cell phone or tablet to record voice statements together with name and contact details. You could also ask for a brief written statement with the same contact details attached. If at all possible, take a photo of the eye witness as well.
If you make a claim later, the insurance adjuster may wish to contact these eye witnesses for corroboration.
Tip#2: Ask Eye Witnesses in the Neighborhood
You tend to think of eye witnesses as the people who are in vehicles who stop when they see an accident. If the accident has blocked the highway there may be a lot of people around, but many of these may not have actually witnessed what happened, so are not very useful as witnesses.
However, there may be people in houses or buildings nearby who saw what happened. You may have time before the police appear or afterwards when you may have an opportunity to ask whether they saw what happened. Buildings include offices, restaurants, stores or residential buildings.
Tip#3: Make Sure You Obtain a Police Report
One of the most important accounts will be the police report compiled by a police officer after he or she attends the accident scene. Even though the officer will not have actually seen the accident, he or she will have observed the crash scene and the report will have value because of its objective nature.
Tip#4: Use Video Camera Footage if Available
If you are lucky, the accident may have been filmed by a video camera mounted for security purposes nearby. It may be a highway traffic control camera, a garage or store security camera or even a camera mounted near an ATM machine.
It’s unlikely that you will get automatic permission to observe footage taken by any of these cameras but it may be worth asking. Otherwise, take a note of where you have spotted a camera that might be useful and let your attorney know the details.
If it appears that the evidence could be useful, the attorney may subpoena the owner of the camera in order to obtain access to the relevant records.
Tip#5: Talk To a Personal Injury Attorney As Soon As You Can
It is hard enough just dealing with injuries and the emotional consequences of an accident, let alone worrying about a personal injury claim and the stress involved in negotiating with lawyers and insurance adjusters.
It is best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you are able to do so about your accident. The attorney can give you an opinion about the chances of success and handle the negotiations needed on your behalf.