While some car accidents involve a simple exchange of insurance information and a textbook version of filing a claim, others are far more complicated. Even if the case seems cut and try to you, there may be questions about fault. When collecting a settlement for damages depends on providing enough evidence to prove another driver was at fault, witnesses can become crucial to your case. In some cases, witnesses may be your only chance at recovering anything for your losses.
If you’ve just been in an accident, however, you may find it difficult to approach witnesses who were on the scene when the accident happened. Here’s what you need to know about witnesses and what information you should get from them after an accident.
Important Information to Collect from Witnesses
Collecting testimony from witnesses is one of the key steps after a car accident. Any witness statement you collect should offer key details of the accident from a point of view not available to you or the other parties involved in the accident. Although every car accident will vary slightly, generally when collecting a witness statement you want to make sure you get the following information:
- Where the witness was in relation to the accident;
- How much time the witness had been on the scene;
- What they were doing at the time of the accident or where they were coming to and going from;
- At one point did the witness notice the accident (before, during, or after the crash);
- How far away was the witness in relation to the accident;
- If they had a clear view of the entire accident or if their sight was obstructed at any point; and
- What the witness saw – ask for a description of the accident.
You may wish to obtain other information as well, depending on the nature of your accident. In addition to statements, it is highly recommended you take the contact information of any witnesses. Use a pen and paper or smartphone, if you have on available, to take notes.
How to Question Witnesses
While you may know the information you want from a witness, they will likely not give it to you unless you guide them properly. Even after a witness has given their account, you may need to probe them for additional information. In your questions, focus on obtaining some of the following details:
- Timing during the accident, where the vehicles came from, their positions before and after the accident, and how the collision occurred;
- What distance the cars were from each other before and after the collision;
- What the weather seemed to be a contributing factor, such as slippery roads or glare; and
- Specific details regarding the scene of the crash, including street lights, other cars, etc. If possible have them draw a diagram of the accident.
Always avoid opinions or speculation regarding the accident and stick to facts.
Get the Help of an Attorney
Even with excellent witnesses, your car accident claim may still run into trouble. If you have any questions regarding a car accident you have been involved in, don’t hesitate to call Krause and Kinsman Law Firm for advice. We have extensive experience handling all types of car accident claims in Kansas City, Missouri. Put our experience to the test on your case and we promise we will work hard to help you get the maximum compensation from your settlement.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.