How Do I Find Witnesses in a Car Accident?
Witnesses can make an enormous difference in the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit. Ideally, you get their contact information at the accident scene, but that may not prove possible if you were seriously injured. Fortunately, there are other avenues to find and identify witnesses.
When you report the accident to your insurance company, expect one of the first questions to concern witnesses. Many car accidents are he said/she said driver situations, so witnesses can affect the credibility of one account over the other.
The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ellis Injury Law will work with you in finding and contacting witnesses to help with your case.
At the scene
If possible, request the names and contact information for anyone present at the scene. The contact information should include phone number, home address, and email. Ask for home, cellphone, and work numbers. Use your cellphone to record a witness statement regarding what they saw and heard if the person is willing.
You also want to determine where the witness was located at the time of the crash. Ask them where they were coming from and going to when the accident occurred.
If you do not get the name of someone who stopped their car after the accident, try to write down or photograph their license plate number.
Return to the site
If you could not speak to anyone at the time of the crash, return to the scene as soon as possible. If there are businesses in the vicinity, ask employees if they recall the accident and if anyone saw it. You might want to ask the same question of people living in the neighborhood.
Try to recall if there was any construction going on in the area at the time of the collision. If so, find out the name of the construction company from the municipality and contact them.
If you could not obtain witness information at the scene, the police report should include the names and contact information of eyewitnesses. Keep in mind that police officers have a lot to do at an accident scene, and they may not have gotten contact information from all witnesses.
While emergency responders did not witness the crash, they were on the scene shortly afterward and may provide valuable information. For example, a responder may note that a driver appeared intoxicated.
If you find witnesses
If you find a witness and believe others saw the crash, ask that witness if they know anyone else who may have seen it. One witness may lead you to another.
The value of witnesses
Car accident lawyers know the value of witness testimony in a claim. Without credible witnesses, it is often hard to prove a claim. However, the witness requires credibility. If you had a friend or relative in the car with you at the time of the accident, they are not considered a neutral party. The same holds true for the occupants of the other driver’s car. That does not mean they are not credible per se, but their statements hold less weight than a third party witness.
Third-party witnesses are those people who happened to be in the area at the time of the accident. They hold no personal interest in the outcome of the case but are just stating what they saw. There is no inherent bias.
As noted, not every witness might have seen the crash, but they may have seen one of the vehicles speeding just shortly beforehand or the driver behaving erratically.
Time is always of the essence when seeking witnesses. If a witness is not found within a reasonable time, they may no longer recall the details of what they saw. That is why it is imperative to obtain legal counsel right away.
Contact a car accident lawyer about your case
If you were seriously injured in an auto accident because of driver negligence, you need the services of an experienced car accident attorney at Ellis Injury Law. Submit our online form to arrange a free consultation and case review, or call or text us 24/7 to make an appointment. We can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Since we work on a contingency basis, you pay no fee unless you receive compensation.