5 Tips for Getting Strong Witness Statements After Your Personal Injury Accident
Immediately after a car accident, the scene will be chaotic, and your first thoughts may be about your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. While you should be getting medical attention for your injuries, you should also be thinking about gathering evidence of the other driver’s wrongdoing.
Never walk around when you’ve been injured. Tend to your injuries first, but if you have a passenger who isn’t hurt, ask them to find witnesses to the accident. Whether you do it yourself or have a friend do it, you should be focused on finding witnesses. Take along a camera, pen, and paper to record the witnesses’ information. If your smart phone has video recording capability, you can use that in place of paper and pen.
1. Question Immediately
You want to find witnesses as soon as possible because when the event is still fresh in their minds, they’re more likely to remember the details of what happened. Identify yourself and ask if they saw what happened. Ask them to describe what they saw and write it down or record it. While you could ask them to write down what they saw, they’re more likely to respond if it’s written for them or record it.
2. Be Calm and Polite
Never run up to a witness yelling that the other driver will pay for colliding with you or put words in the witnesses’ mouth. Either tactic may alienate the witness and may then claim to have seen nothing of the accident. Be polite and calm when asking the witness what he or she saw of the car accident. Witness statements don’t have to be long. They also don’t have to be notarized or witnessed by anyone.
3. Take Pictures
With your phone’s camera, you can take pictures of the witnesses holding their statements to ensure you know who they were. If they don’t want their picture taken, you can record the scene as well as where they were standing in relation to the accident. You should have your camera out to record the scene of the accident, so it’ll be easy to turn it to the crowd that might have gathered.
4. Questions to Ask
To prod their memory, you can ask questions before they start writing their statement. A few questions can establish why they were at the location. Ask where they were coming from originally and what direction they were looking as the accident occurred.
5. Contact the Witness
If the witness needs to leave or you’re not comfortable questioning him or her at the scene, ask if you can contact him or her at a later date. When you hire the attorney for your case, a skilled car accident lawyer Milwaukee WI relies on can contact the witness and will know exactly what to ask regarding the scene and the details of the accident.
The witness to the accident might be standing on the side of the road, but they might be inside homes or businesses in the area too. If you’re mobile, you should canvas the area for a witness that isn’t visible to you, but might have seen the accident. In some businesses, there are cameras recording the door, which could have captured the accident. Also note if there are municipal or city traffic cameras in the vicinity that may have recorded the events. Make note of these for your lawyer’s reference in the future.