One of the most important things that the attorneys at Bashore Green advise anyone to do in the event of a car accident is to get the name and contact information of any witnesses that can be found. To ensure that the police report is as accurate as possible, you will want to identify witnesses and get statements about what they saw can be crucial to successfully secure compensation for an injured driver.
Witnesses Help Us Prove What Happened
All of our attorneys at Bashore Green are extremely talented and can provide significant assistance to any individual suffering from a recent auto accident. But even we must have evidence to demonstrate that the other party is at fault. Many cases are built on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and in order for a lawyer to understand the strength of a case, the lawyer must know what the eyewitnesses remember.
In general, witness statements are best taken as soon as possible by the responding law enforcement official. It is important to get that immediate statement because as humans our memories can be very flawed. Over time, bias creeps into the stories people tell, and witnesses often take in additional information and incorporate it into their story. People also simply forget what happened. Statements obtained right away are likely to be more accurate than later statements.
Witness statements are most credible when the witness does not have any self-interest involved. The testimony of your family and friends who were in the car with you are worth something, but generally not as much as a bystander who has no connection to the parties involved in the collision. Locating these witnesses and getting a detailed statement from them is often one of the most important things that an investigating personal injury attorney can do.
Statements Can Promote Settlement
Most cases begin with a discovery phase, where each side explores the evidence the other side has. This gives both sides a good understanding of how the case might play out in court. Lawyers and their clients can estimate their odds of winning and decide whether it would be preferable to settle and avoid the risk.
Additionally, discovery will sometimes simply bring one side to the realization that they were in the wrong. For example, an eyewitness statement that a driver was playing with the radio at the time of the accident might encourage that driver’s insurance company to settle.
Do Not Let Your Statements Be Used Against You!
Witness statements can just as easily be used against you. If you are in an accident, you should never allow yourself to be talked into making a statement to the other side or even to your own insurance company without advice from your own lawyer first.
As with any auto accident, call the team at Bashore Green for a free case review where we can review your options.