Being involved in a motor vehicle crash is a traumatizing event that will likely leave you in shock and confusion, especially if you have sustained injuries.
It can be challenging to remember more than the essential steps in the immediate aftermath of a car crash, such as calling 911, taking photos, and exchanging contact and insurance information. However, staying calm and gathering witness statements can be crucial for proving your case and obtaining the compensation you deserve.
The minimum information you should get from your car crash witnesses is their contact details. Experienced Louisiana car accident lawyers recommend that you should get the following information from each witness:
- At least one contact method like an email address, phone number, social media account handle
Even if they are unable or unwilling to make a statement, obtaining contact information from the witnesses allows you to identify which third parties were on the scene. It also allows your lawyers to contact them and ask them for formal statements, helping to build your case.
1. When did you see the accident? During or after it occurred?
Depending on the witness’ location at the time of the accident, they may have witnessed the collision or arrived shortly afterward. However, even if the witness didn’t see the impact, they can still provide helpful details, such as someone trying to leave the scene.
2. Where were you at the time of the accident?
Some witnesses may have been fellow drivers concentrating on avoiding the accident and getting to safety. Others may have seen the entirety of the incident from the sidewalk or a nearby building. If you were driving with passengers, don’t forget they also count as witnesses.
Establishing the witness’ location and relation to the accident is critical to determine whether they had a clear view, so they can provide a meaningful, valuable statement. The farther away they are and the more obstructed their view, the more likely the other party’s insurance company will argue their testimony isn’t valid.
3. Can you give a detailed account of the incident?
The bulk of each witness’ statement should feature as many details about the scene and other drivers as possible. These recollections can prove that the other party was distracted, impaired, breaking traffic laws, or otherwise responsible. Although each accident is unique and circumstances will vary in every situation, here are a few commonly asked questions you can try asking:
- Do you remember who was in which lane?
- Did you notice anybody committing traffic violations? (running a red light, not yielding the right of way, texting while driving, etc.)
- Was anyone speeding?
- Did anyone seem impaired?
- Was any vehicle moving erratically or swerving?
- Did you see or hear sudden braking?
- What was the approximate distance between each vehicle when you saw them?
- What was the weather at the time? This information can be used to prove excessive speed under harsh weather.
Your lawyers can use this information to strengthen your claim that the other driver was at fault or broke a specific law. For example, it is illegal to use a cellphone while driving in Louisiana (R.S. 32:300.5). If one or multiple witnesses saw a mobile phone in the other driver’s hands at the time of the incident, the testimonies can be used to prove that the driver broke the law.
4. Are you willing to make a statement to the police?
Asking the witness whether they would be willing to make a statement to local law enforcement can be helpful for your case. Besides ensuring the statement is in writing, having one or multiple recorded witness statements can help your lawyers represent your interests during negotiations or in court.
At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, our team of highly skilled auto accident lawyers understands Louisiana law and can use the contact information and witness statements you collect to help establish and build your claim.
Whether the other driver was driving under the influence, texting and driving, or otherwise negligent, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a no-obligation free case evaluation.
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