The Importance of Having Witnesses to Your Auto Accident

James Green, a security guard at the Tampa Bay Times building, saw the whole thing. While driving behind a white Chrysler convertible, he watched the police cruiser run a red light and hit the car in front of him. “I kept thinking, ‘Oh, he’s going to stop,’ but he kept on coming,” the Tampa Bay Times reported in August 2012. “He tried to miss her at the last second, but it was too late.”

Eyewitness testimony like James Green’s can help determine fault, liability and damages. In this particular case, the unnamed driver of the white Chrysler could have been in a lot of trouble. An auto accident with a police car presents additional difficulties beyond your standard accident. Since this driver had an eyewitness who could verify she was not at fault, any ensuing litigation will likely fall in her favor.

The importance of an eyewitness cannot be overstated. As these people are independent from taking sides, they are likely to stick to their story and not change it for either party. Also, the closer they are to the accident, the better, because they are in a better position to observe what happened (James Green was right behind the car involved in the crash). Getting an eyewitness statement as soon as possible helps to preserve their account.

For any accident, it is important to get information from any available witnesses on the scene. Depending on the severity of the crash, this can be done by the police or the driver. Critical information includes:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Email

If the witness agrees, think about using your phone to snap a picture of the witness and get a video statement. All of this information will help the insurance company to contact the witness and for the police to compile an accurate report.

Witnesses may come forward at the scene of the crash, but sometimes they do not. In such a case, the insurance company or the driver can put an ad in the newspaper, both in print and online, asking people to come forward or contact the police with information. If you need help tracking down and getting statements from witnesses to your auto accident, our law firm can help with that.

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