Three Important Reasons to Get Witnesses Statements After an Auto Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you probably have some questions regarding what are the next steps to protect your rights and make sure the true facts about the accident are preserved. As a top Chicago IL car accident lawyer, we know that following accidents, stories often change and the at-fault driver may say something different to the police or his insurance company than he or she did or said at the scene at the accident. The police rarely witness an accident but arrive at the scene following the accident, usually after the vehicles have been moved, sometimes many minutes or longer after the accident occurred. Police reports can be flawed or inaccurate and fail to list critical information, such as witnesses’ names or statements. This article will clarify about what to do following an accident with regard to witness statements and three important reasons to get witness statements.
1. Most accidents occur outside the range of cameras or videos. A video of an accident tells us what happened without dispute or the need to rely on a person’s memory. Since most accidents are not captured on video, the next best evidence is a witness statement. A witness statement provides a detailed account of what the witness saw, the specific facts of the accident, and detailed information to help determine what happened. The statement should be written or recorded so it is documented in case the witness disappears, changes his or her story, or fails to remember facts. Following a car accident with injuries, a trial as to what happened can occur sometimes years after the accident. A witness statement provides a fresh account of the facts, aids anyone investigating the accident as to what happened, and can refresh the witness’ memory if he or she needs to state or testify as to what happened months or years after the accident.
2. Unlike the actual drivers or passengers in an accident, a witness provides an objective perspective as to what happened. Objective means that the witness does not have any biases or reasons not to tell the truth. An unbiased witness’ reason for giving the statement is to tell exactly what happened and who was at fault for the car accident. An unbiased witness statement is used by insurance companies and investigators to determine what happened especially when there are conflicting stories as to the facts of the car accident. Again, it is important to get the witness’ statement as soon as possible after the accident and to either have a written statement or have the statement recorded.
3. Often following a car accident, witnesses will stay at the scene, provide their names, but then move on with their lives. Most witnesses, like everyone else, has many other issues to deal with, and the car accident with injuries will soon become least of the witness’ worries. A witness’ memory can easily fade as time moves on. As mentioned before, a disputed car accident with an injury or multiple injuries can take years to resolve or go to trial. A statement aids the witness in recalling what happened, refreshing the witness’ recollection, and enables the witness to give true, accurate, and clear facts about the car accident that he or she saw.
Thanks to our friend and blog author, Neal S. Gainsberg of Gainsberg Law, P.C., for his added insight into the importance of witness statements.