Car accidents can have serious implications, particularly if you have debilitating injuries and major financial losses. Fortunately, you can make the responsible person pay for their negligence by filing for a personal injury compensation claim against them. But proving negligence is easier said than done because the other party will also try every trick in the book to refute your claim. In such circumstances, even the smallest piece of information or evidence that supports your injury claim can be valuable for your case.
To win a personal injury claim, the first thing you need to do is prove the negligence of the guilty party in the court. Apart from the evidence, an independent and unbiased third party witness with no personal or financial interest in the case can play a key role in substantiating the claim. If you have an eyewitness who was present at the accident spot, consider yourself lucky because their testimony can make your case stronger than it would have been without them. So it becomes important to understand the value of the statement of a third party witness. Let us explain how witness statements work.
Finding a witness who can testify
In most accident cases, the victim is too shocked to realize anything or act sensibly right after the crash. Obviously, your injuries would be the prime concern after a mishap and you would want to get them treated on first priority. But a little presence of mind can go a long way in ensuring that you find a witness you can have to fortify your case when you eventually file for compensation.
When the police arrive, they will certainly record the witness statements in their report along with other evidence of the mishap. But it always makes sense to get their contact details in case your attorney needs to connect with them during the lawsuit. They may require getting in touch with the witnesses to gather more vital details about the mishap or even call them for testifying in the court.
Understanding who a credible witness is
While there may be a few witnesses to the accident, their credibility is the thing that can make all the difference to the value they add to your case. Having someone who is not credible can do more harm than good. So car accident attorneys dedicated to their clients go the extra mile with determining the credibility of the witness before using their statements in the court or presenting them to testify. Here are a few questions that can help you assess their credibility.
- Was the witness a pedestrian or driving their vehicle when the crash occurred?
- Did they see the mishap or just hear it?
- Did they observe the entire event from start to finish?
- Were they attentive enough through the incident or distracted by a pet, child, or anything else?
- Is the witness an honest individual?
- Do they have good vision, hearing, and memory?
Someone who matches these criteria can only be deemed as a credible witness, whose testimony can add value to the case. Also, it is important to understand the concept of an eyewitness who saw the accident first-hand. These can include pedestrians and passersby, utility and road workers, adjacent business owners, and other drivers driving nearby when the crash occurred.
Knowing the value of a witness statement
Whether your claim is settled out of court or culminates in a lawsuit, witness statements matter a lot. Insurance companies go the extra mile to prove that the accident claim is not valid and even if it is, they would want to close it with lowball settlement to the victim. The claims adjuster will go through each witness statement that you provide because that’s where they will try to spot a weakness. A DUI attorney from The Ladan Law Firm, P.A. can protect your rights, asses the case, and determine if you need to go to court.
Further, they would want to find if the witness knows or is related to the victim or the other driver or has a personal or financial interest in the case. If they are able to prove so, the statement may not get many benefits for your case. Similarly, some witness statements are not admissible in court if the case goes to trial. Apart from being valid and credible, the witness should be willing to be present in person and testify what they saw in the court.
A witness testimony can serve as the cornerstone of a favorable verdict, provided that you have a credible one and present it in the right way. Make sure that you don’t miss out on these key pieces of evidence because they can make a great difference to the value and timing of compensation.