At Correll Law Firm, our Winchester car accident lawyer relies on different pieces of evidence when negotiating a settlement. For example, physical evidence like dents in the vehicles help show how they collided, while dash cam or other video footage can help us visualize the wreck.
Witness statements are also critical pieces of evidence. Our firm uses witness testimony in different ways, so it is important to speak to any bystanders after a wreck, if possible. Your attorney will probably want to speak to any witness, even those who think you are responsible for the collision. Reach out to Correll Law Firm today if you were injured by a crash to discuss how witnesses will impact your case.
How to Find Witnesses
There are many people who could have observed your car accident:
- Passengers in nearby vehicles, including the car that hit you
- Passengers in your own car
- Bystanders on the sidewalk or inside nearby businesses
Motorists involved in the collision have a legal duty to stop. Hopefully, other motorists will stop as well to render assistance or talk to the police officer who comes out to the accident scene. You can try to talk to them as you wait for the officer to show up.
What to Ask Witnesses Following a Crash
Your injuries might be so painful that you can’t move around at all following the accident. That’s okay. But if you can move around—or if someone else can move around—we recommend talking to witnesses. Remember to ask for:
- General impressions of the accident. Did they see it? What did they see? Where were they in relation to the crash? Remember not to argue if they mistakenly think you are responsible for the crash.
- Name and where they live. With luck, they are local, which helps if we need them to testify in court.
- Methods of contacting them. Your Winchester car accident lawyer might want to talk with them later, so ideally you should ask for a phone number or email address.
What happens if a witness erroneously thinks you caused a collision? For example, the witness might claim you ran a red light when you are confident your light was green.
Often, there’s a simple explanation why they are confused. A witness might have been further away than they claim, or their view was obstructed. Your Winchester car accident lawyer still wants to talk to these witnesses to find out more about. You can be sure that the other side will try to use witnesses to bolster their case.
How Witnesses Establish Fault
Our law firm’s ability to obtain compensation will depend on who was at fault for the accident. Without fault, a motorist isn’t obligated to pay you compensation for your injuries.
The most common example of fault is someone who hits you because they were speeding, driving drunk, or distracted by a cell phone. But any careless driving will qualify as fault.
Witnesses help us “see” the accident as it unfolded. For example, you might have been rear-ended while waiting at a red light. The witness can help show that you didn’t cut off the driver who rear-ended you.
Similarly, you might have been involved in a sideswipe accident with a motorist trying to merge on the freeway. You didn’t have room to move over to the left lane, so the driver needed to slow down and only merge when there was room. After the wreck, you point the finger at the other driver, and he blames you. Witnesses can help establish who had the right of way in this situation.
A witness is also very helpful if you were injured in a hit and run or a near miss accident. When a driver forces you off the road, your insurer might believe you fell asleep and drove off the road yourself. Witnesses can help prove that another motorist is to blame.
Witnesses & Your Pain and Suffering
The Correll Law Firm also uses witnesses to help establish the full effect an accident has on a client. For example, you can receive compensation for non-economic damages like physical pain and mental suffering. Convincing an insurance company that you feel real pain is difficult. Insurers can easily identify the cost of your medical care by looking at medical bills. But they might believe you are exaggerating your pain and suffering.
This is where a witness is helpful. Our car accident attorney has used witnesses to show:
- Changes in your mood or personality following the accident
- Physical limitations which prevent you from enjoying hobbies or being with your family
- Interrupted sleep schedule
- Any depression or anxiety
Often, a spouse or other family member can paint a vivid picture of how your injuries have changed your life. An insurance adjuster is more likely to believe your own testimony when someone else backs it up.
Are Witnesses Necessary?
Maybe there were no witnesses. You might have been involved in a crash in the middle of the night. Only you and the other driver saw anything. Can you receive compensation?
Yes. Witnesses are not 100% necessary. But they are certainly helpful. We always try to talk to witnesses to find out what they saw, so we recommend trying to talk to them.
Without witnesses, we can still establish fault using:
- Your own memories of the collision
- Any statements made by the other driver
- Photographs of the cars involved in the crash
- Skid marks or other physical evidence, like the debris field
- Breathalyzer results or other drug tests
- Cell phone records
- Video footage of the accident
We have won cases with this evidence and will leave no stone unturned as we investigate your claim.
Call Our Winchester Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in a wreck, you deserve an experienced lawyer who has your back. Insurance companies rarely make fair settlement offers, and the right lawyer can make all the difference between a meaningful settlement and no money at all. Our lawyer has helped countless accident victims navigate the claims process and knows how to negotiate with insurers. Call Correll Law Firm today, 540-535-2005, to schedule a consultation to review your legal rights.