What You Should Know About Collecting Witness Statements After a Car Wreck
November 21, 2022
Why is a witness statement important?
After a car wreck, the driver and passengers can often feel shocked, confused, and almost definitely scared — even after what might seem like a minor collision. While you may have difficulty recalling details after a crash, it is important to document all aspects of your claim so that you can provide satisfactory evidence when it comes time for resolution.
A witness statement is one of the most important pieces of evidence that can be gathered. Why? In addition to building a stronger case, a well-written statement often proves instrumental in helping recover damages from injuries sustained during a car crash. If any passersby or passengers witnessed the wreck, it is imperative to ask them to write a statement.
When a car crash leads to a personal injury case, both sides initiate a thorough investigation. While the victim and their attorney work hard to collect supporting evidence, the insurance company and at-fault party instead try to establish their innocence. Because determining who is at fault isn't always straightforward, eyewitness testimony can shed much-needed light on the circumstances of the car wreck. It can even aid in negotiations with the other party’s insurance company!
Information that all witness statements should contain:
- The witness’s full legal name, address, phone number, and email
- A description of what happened before, during, and after the accident. Provide the specific times if possible.
- The witness’s perception of the damage to both vehicles and injuries to all parties involved.
- A description of weather conditions (rain, snow, ice, poor visibility) and road conditions (potholes, wet surface, blind curve).
- The witness’s position, or where the witness was at the time of the accident.
- A description of all parties involved in the accident to the best of one’s knowledge.
- The date and the witness’s signature.
Other tips for a strong witness statement
- Share the specifics - Never be afraid of providing too much information! Descriptions of sights, smells, and sounds can even be useful to the case.
- Be organized - While there may be a lot of information to share, make sure the document is coherent, chronological, and proofread. If a poor-quality statement is submitted, attorneys and insurance companies may question its credibility.
- Avoid accusations - Even if your witness is 100% certain that one party is at fault, it’s important to stay objective. Don’t share opinions. Instead, focus on establishing the timeline, facts, and circumstances of the crash. The witness's role is to share accident details and let others draw their own conclusions.
- Don’t wait - Try to write a statement as soon after the wreck as possible, as memories quickly fade with time. It’s important to share the facts while they are still fresh in the mind.
Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. After a car wreck, Anderson Traylor Edwards is here to help. For more information about what we can do for your personal injury case, contact us online or call 985-345-7777.