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Importance of Witness Statements in Car Accident Cases

Importance of Witness Statements in Car Accident Cases

Shapiro Law Team February 6, 2023 Car Accidents

If you’re in a car accident, collecting witness information could be a major key to winning your car accident case. A witness’s statement can support several aspects of your claim. What a witness or witnesses saw can help clear up exactly what happened and who was at fault. Witness statements often provide an unbiased view of the accident. Without it, it’s your version of the events against the other party’s. This blog will cover how important witness statements are to your case.

How important is a witness in a car accident?

Witnesses Help Us Prove What Happened

Sometimes, the circumstances surrounding a car accident aren’t so clear. But even if they are, the other party may be resistant to admitting fault. That’s where a witness statement comes into play. Since they saw what happened, they can offer an objective version of what happened. This statement can bolster your story and discredit the other party’s version of the events.

Statements Can Promote Settlement

Most cases begin with a discovery phase where each side examines evidence the other side has. Your lawyer and the other party’s lawyer will go over the evidence to gain a better understanding of what the potential outcome could be. Both lawyers will calculate the odds of winning the case. If the risk of losing is too high, then a settlement is the most likely outcome.

So how does a witness statement come into play? During discovery, the witness’s statement along with the evidence gathered could alter how the other party moves forward. They may realize it’s better to settle than take it any further.

Importance of Witness Statements

Prior Statements Can Have Enormous Value in Court

The statement a witness gives before your case moves forward to trial has enormous value. Let’s say a witness is testifying against you. If it’s your lawyer’s first time hearing the statement, it can make it hard to question their version of the events. However, with a prior statement, that witness would need to stick to their original story. If they stray from their original story, your lawyer can pounce on the errors and make them explain the changes.

Another reason a prior witness statement could come in handy for your claim is when the other party admits fault. It could be something as simple as saying, “I’m sorry for causing the accident,” or “It was my fault.” Those statements can be entered as evidence in court.

Prior witness statements can also be used when your witness forgets or draws a blank about what happened. Some important details could be easily forgotten. Luckily, the witness can read off their prior statement to recollect what they said happened.

Proving Negligence

A witness or witness statement can help you and your lawyer prove the other party was negligent. Their statement may contain that evidence the other driver acted negligently. You’ll need this information to help recover the compensation you deserve.

Validating Your Injury

A witness statement can help validate the injuries you suffered as well as disprove the other party’s bodily injury claim. The witness saw the extent of the accident and can shed light on the amount of pain you were in or the condition the accident left you in. Their story can also shed light on whether the other party lied or exaggerated their injuries.

What Factors Affect Credibility?

As crucial as a statement is, it’s less impactful if the witness isn’t credible. But what makes a witness credible? Here are some ways credibility can be established:

  • Where was the witness when they saw the accident? Were they a pedestrian walking by, or were they driving and forced to avoid the accident?
  • Did the witness see the events as they unfolded, or did they only see part of it?
  • Did the witness see either driver speeding?
  • Did the witness’s statement come from only what they saw, or was it influenced by what another person may have seen?

What Hurts a Witness’s Credibility?

If a witness attempts to use their opinions of what happened rather than the facts of the case, they can also lose some credibility. Opinions can be helpful, but the facts are what the court is looking for. Other things that can hurt a witness’s credibility include:

  • Does the witness have a prior criminal record?
  • Are they notorious for dishonesty?
  • Is the witness related to or has a relationship with either party that may influence the outcome?
  • Inconsistencies in their telling or retelling of the story.

How Do You Find a Witness After a Car Accident?

Following a car accident, your mind will be on a million things—collecting witness information could easily slip through the cracks. However, gathering statements can provide crucial information for your claim. If possible, you should politely ask anyone who has stopped to help or may live nearby and saw the events. If the accident happened near a business, you could try asking the owner or their customers or workers if they saw what happened. The more witnesses you can get to corroborate what happened, the better outcome for your claim.

When Should You Approach a Witness After a Crash?

If you are physically capable of approaching witnesses, you should ask them as soon as possible. Waiting too long may cost you the chance to have a statement from someone who saw the whole thing. However, if you’re unable to catch witnesses before they leave, there are other ways of tracking them down.

You could try posting to social media or community forums to see if anyone saw anything. If the accident happened outside of a business, you can go in the next day to ask if their employees saw what happened.

It’s important to be polite and not pushy when asking for witness statements. Even if someone saw the whole thing, they may be too anxious or scared to come forward. The more polite and mild-mannered you are when asking, the easier it will be for witnesses to come forward.


Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Navigating the process of filing a personal injury claim following a car accident can get murky. Most people don’t know what to do, or worse—they settle for less than they deserve. Don’t let the other party or their insurance deny part or all of your claim. Bring your case to Shapiro Law Team. Our personal injury attorneys in Scottsdale and Phoenix have helped countless victims recover fair compensation. Our results speak for themselves.

We’ll work with you to help you understand your rights, protect you during claim negotiations, and won’t stop fighting until we get your claim settled. Get started with a free consultation by calling (480) 485-2343 or contacting us online any time, day or night.

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