Understanding the Role of Witnesses in Car Accident Claims
When a car accident takes place, there are always consequences. One of these is bound to be the victims of the collision seeking compensation for injuries and damages incurred by the incident. For this to be successful, there are multiple steps that happen to bring a claim to completion. A key part of the process will usually be to seek out witnesses to the car accident and bring them in to enable a cross-referencing of facts and a clearer picture to determine liability wherever that lands. It is important to understand the role of witnesses in this context, and you can read more about this below.
Why Are Witnesses an Integral Role In Car Accident Claims?
So, what makes witnesses have such an integral role in car accident claims? The truth is, there are lots of reasons why attorneys and law enforcement encourage these people to step forward. Not only do they enable faster resolution, but they also serve to protect victims that may otherwise be vulnerable to bullying tactics and other types of misinformation. Though it is against the law to commit perjury, it does happen, and witnesses have a big part to play in combatting this.
After a car accident happens, and an injury suit is brought forward, there are a lot of facts that must be observed. Firstly, there are the names and vehicles. Then there are things like the time of day, weather conditions, location, and involved parties. A witness can help to collate all of these bits of information so that the bigger picture is brought together in a more authentic light. These events can happen anywhere at any time, after all, so it is only going to be possible to determine fault if there are facts at the heart of the process.
Finding key pieces of evidence is another part of the fact finding mission, and an extremely important one at that. Evidence is things like video footage, pictures of the scene, person descriptions, verbal accounts of what people saw, and so on. These all add up to create a format for deciding who was to blame and who is the true victim. A witness statement, especially if there are a few to draw upon, is very helpful when it comes to all the above points.
Ultimately, determining who is at fault demands a certain degree of professional integrity. Nobody wants to be to blame when a car accident takes place, and while sometimes it is quite clear cut as to what happened, it becomes more difficult when there is more ambiguity around the event. One person says one thing, the other party says another and these accounts clash, so what can be done? Witnesses brought in at this point can often verify one claim or another and enable a more defined decision about who actually caused the accident and why.
A Witness vs. An Independent Witness: What’s the Difference?
It is worth discussing the difference between witnesses and independent witnesses. A standard witness is someone who was indirectly involved in the crash, like a passenger in a car. An independent witness is someone who saw what happened but was not injured or involved in any active way.
How Does Your Attorney Find Key Witnesses?
There are several paths for an attorney on the hunt for the key witnesses to a car accident. They will be keen to find people to help ascertain the cause and the consequence, and they can use any of the following methods to help that search along:
- Their legal savvy and know-how
- CCTV and video surveillance footage in the surrounding areas
- Law enforcement reports
- Media appeals for people to come forward
What Will Witnesses Do?
Now you know what a witness is for, it’s time to shift the discussion to what they actually do. A strong witness might give their official statement and appear in court if necessary. This account may be used to decide who is to blame and who isn’t, which can lead to assigning costs of things like medical expenses, vehicle repair and mental health compensation for the accident.
Give a Statement
The official statement on record will not be able to be altered in any way by either side of the proceedings. It will state who they are, what they saw, and sometimes who they think was to blame as well. This can all be used to verify the facts and figure out the mistruths too.
Appear in Court
They may be asked to appear in court to recount this information, though some are entitled to remain anonymous in certain circumstances. Witnesses that attend the court will have a quick role, usually answering questions from each attorney to verify and elaborate the core components of their statement.
State Their Account
They could be called upon to state their account for each attorney and to answer questions about it too.
Decide the Case Outcome
While they won’t play a role in the actual decision making, their whole story will be used as a valid piece of evidence to determine who was to blame. This is important because it paves the way for the truth, and removes the opportunity for each side to make it a matter of combat as opposed to justice.
What About False Witnesses?
Sometimes, false witnesses can derail an investigation. It is a crime to submit false testimony in any capacity, but it still happens. A false witness will be convicted for their part if they are found, and an experienced attorney is the best person to figure out who is telling the truth and who might be playing a different agenda altogether.
Witnesses are a good thing to have on your side in a car accident claim. They can help to support claims by providing the facts of the incident and even absolving you of direct blame in what they say and do. Your attorney will know the best way to step, so trust their advice and let the process work its magic the way it is supposed to.
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